Monday, January 8, 2018

The Secrets of Academic Success: Secret #2: How Profs Write Exams (Sp18)

Secret #2: Bloom’s Taxonomy (or How Do Profs Write Exams, Anyway?)

Consciously or unconsciously, your professors are guided by a teaching philosophy when writing exams. A philosophy is a belief about how to live or how to deal with a situation. There are reasons they (your teachers) do what they do. Believe it or not.

Professors learn these reasons explicitly as part of their graduate training and implicitly through experience.

How do profs write exams? Imagine if you knew that. What power you’d have. You could anticipate types of questions on an exam and you could bend a spoon just with the power of your mind. Well, maybe you wouldn't be able to do that bend-a-spoon thing.

I learned this secret explicitly as part of my graduate teacher training and I guess I use it consciously. At least that is what my syllabus says (see the teaching philosophy section of my syllabus).

I’d recommend you read:
How to Write Better Tests: A Handbook for Improving Test Construction Skills
You may also want to check out Bloom's Taxonomy.

Now you know how an exam is written. You did visit and read that sites above, right?  If so, you now have a better understanding of how a prof. writes exams. But, what about the content of the questions? You now know the how, but where’s the what?

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