Monday, October 17, 2016

Writing Tests

I'm currently taking a testing/measurement/assessment course for my master's program.  While lately I've been poring over research to see if there's any consensus about what makes for a math teacher (and which teacher candidates might become great math teachers), and the results are about what I expected.

Leaving those lofty research heights, however, I'm compelled, by virtue of living in the real world, to continue to teach and assess my students--and that means writing tests and quizzes.  Putting some of the practical lessons I've learned to good use, I spent quite a bit of time today writing a test on basic probability.

One thing I've learned:  be explicit about what I expect.  Rather than saying, "what is the probability of drawing, without replacement, 2 consecutive kings from a deck of cards?",  my wording is now somewhat different:
What is the probability of drawing, without replacement, 2 consecutive kings from a deck of cards?  State the applicable formula/rule, substitute numbers into that formula, and then solve.
Clarity and specificity are the keys.

And if you're wondering, the answer would be:
P(A and B) = P(A)*P(B|A)
P(K and K) = 4/52*3/51 = 4/884 = 1/221


Anonymous said...

That's a good technique. In high school I knew how to do the math itself but didn't always know the names of the formulas or how to necessarily follow the needed approach. While I succeeded in high school math, this tactic proved useless at a university level, shown in one class where I got a C on the midterm despite getting all the answers correct. The new techniques you're using is much better at preparing students for higher education, as questions are phrased in the same way.

Darren said...

Thank you.