Guest Posts on ProfHacker: Multiple-Choice Exam Questions and Pre-Class Reading Quizzes

A few weeks ago, Jason B. Jones, one of the editors at my favorite group blog, ProfHacker, invited readers who teach in math and science disciplines to contribute articles to the blog.  I took Jason up on his offer, and I’ve now contributed two posts to ProfHacker.

In the first post, “Multiple-Choice Questions on Exams,” I describe some of the reasons I use multiple-choice questions on my exams.  As regular readers of my blog know, I find multiple-choice questions very useful as clicker questions.  I think many instructors underestimate their use in the classroom.  However, as I write in my ProfHacker post, I’ve found multiple-choice questions very effective for assessing students’ conceptual understanding in my courses.  Moreover, since I have my students spend a good chunk of each class session grappling with multiple-choice questions, it seems appropriate that these kinds of questions would show up on their exams!

In my second ProfHacker post, “Getting Students to Do the Reading: Pre-Class Quizzes on WordPress,” I describe the rationale, use, and implementation of pre-class reading quizzes in my math courses.  As I’ve mentioned on this blog, I ask my students to read their textbook before coming to class as a first encounter with the course material.  This frees up some class time for more active learning (such as clicker-facilitated peer instruction), and it also allows me to practice “just-in-time teaching” by letting student responses to pre-class quiz questions inform my lesson plans so that our use of class time is more responsive to student learning needs.  See the ProfHacker post for lots more details and a great set of comments by other ProfHacker readers.

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