> Thurs, 26 Oct 1995 15:12:44 BST
> Subject: TEACHING - Methods for Assessing Large Classes
Jonathan Freeman <MSMJF@razor.wbs.warwick.ac.uk> asks:
> Colleagues and I would like advice on methods of assessing large
> numbers of undergraduate students, (say 200 or more at one time). We
> are of course aware of the use of simple multiple-choice exams, which
> are efficient to administer.
> However, in their simple versions these tend only to assess
> superficial learning, rather than deep learning.
When you talk about deep learning, I'm assuming that you mean: " what
are the underlying concepts in this field, and how are they related.
Multiple-choice exams measure ideas and content rather then concepts.
Try looking at _learning how to learn_ Joseph Novak and Bob Gowan.
Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-31926-9
They cover a technique called concept mapping.
After all, when you watch a student in a bus or in the library
reading a textbook with a highlighter pen - what are they doing ?
The are isolating or deconstructing all the higer order concepts
in that field of information.
What do teachers do ? They turn around and take them back down to a
lower level of abstraction and ask for ideas and content.
If you want to ensure ( notice I'm not using the word test) that a
student has a grasp of the big picture, and can transfer concepts
into the real world, ask them to draw a concept map of the area that
they just studied. It's looks easy, but it's quite challenging.
In Canada, a number of high school science teachers require students to
construct concept maps for each unit of study. No tests or exams
College and University courses should require that students use
concept mapping more often.
Text books should include concept maps at the end of each chapter.
A concept map for marketing that shows higher order marketing
concepts might look like:
from Page 170, Learning how to learn:
[ ] is a concept, usually drawn as a bubble,but hard to do in this case
of adding of adding
[appeal] / \ [convenience]
\ [product [service /
[availability] - values] values]
/ \ / \
[new use] \ / [desire]
[creation of utility]
[raw materials] ---for which ----[profit]
| one makes
Wow ! that was hard to draw !
Now you try it. What are the key overriding broad concepts in your field?
What general concepts emerge from those general ones ? What ideas or
examples come out of those.
Concept maps have one other immediate advantage that any other linear
forms of notation don't have.
Concept maps form your baseline of information in a graphic form. Concept
relationships become immediate.
You can now do concept challenges and escapes ( ala de BONO ) on each
What do I take for granted about..... ? Can I challenge that concept or
idea ? Where does it get me thinking ? and all that other great lateral
thinking stuff....impossible with multiple choice exams.
Then your students can really get creative.
"You can't dig a different hole by digging the same one deeper"
Edward de Bono
> I am aware that
> Prof. Tulving in the Psychology department at the University of
> Toronto has done some innovative work in this area, having developed
> easily administered multiple choice and other exam questions which
> test deep learning.
> I also understand that a number of US schools have developed exam
> systems which are almost completely administered by computer e.g. the
> student completes the exam question on-line and the computer
> calculates the results almost immediately.
In theory, computer could grade concept maps for several elements
such as relationships between concepts, hierachy of concepts,
examples of concepts etc.using concepts lists (pick and drag all the
conepts that belong to this field), click and drag concept symbols
> We would be interested in learning of the experiences of any readers
> who have taught business courses dealing with large numbers of
> students, and have used efficient methods to assess learning at
> something more than a superficial level.
> Thanks in advance,
> Jonathan Freeman
> Marketing & Strategic Management Group
> Warwick Business School
> University of Warwick
> Coventry CV4 7AL
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