A contentious topic between instructors, students, and PACE administration is exam reviews. How much is too much? How explicit should they be? It can be a difficult topic to deal with as students put pressure on instructors for help as they focus on grades and passing a course.
As a general guideline, PACE does not expect instructors to provide explicit questions and answers to students. That’s a pretty easy starting point. A good method to use in answering these questions is to give students a breakdown by topic or chapter by building your exam with a blueprint.
Using a blueprint is a method to check the distribution of your content, and type of questions that you are asking. I build mine by textbook chapter, recall questions (like remembering a definition; what is …? Or why did …?), applying the material (a thinking question; how would you compare…? How would you classify…?), or creating (going to a higher level of problem solving with the question; what facts support …? What is the relationship between…? How would you improve…?):
As I create a draft of my exam, I can see how many questions I have from each chapter to ensure I’m covering all the course topics. I can tell how many marks I’ve allocated for each area, and how many of those marks are from recalling information versus applying it. When I’m finished, I can remove or add questions to ensure enough weight is given to the important areas, and to ensure there is an appropriate mix of question types.
In giving students a ‘heads up’ on the exam, I can tell them what chapters are covered and what percentage of the exam is from what area. Using the above blue print:
The exam will cover chapters 1 and 2. There is 1 multiple choice question, and 3 short answer. 50% of the questions are on chapter 1; 505 of the questions are on chapter 2.
Or I could tell the students by marks:
The exam covers chapters 1 and 2. There is 1 multiple choice question and 3 short answer questions. 25% of the marks are on materials in Chapter 1; 75% of the marks are on the material in chapter 2.
As a student, you know that you should be putting an emphasis for studying on Chapter 2.
Here’s an actual example of one I recently posted for a course:
The exam is worth 25% of the final grade and consists of 12 multiple choice questions (worth 1 mark each) and 27 short answer questions (worth marks as indicated) for a total of 100 marks.
The exam questions are distributed across the materials we covered as follows:
|Chapter||Number of Questions|
Of the questions, 55% are just demonstrating your ability to recall material; 38% of them are displaying that you can apply the material given a set of facts; 5% of the questions are asking you to do something with the information supplied.
I hope this gives an idea of how to answer students’ questions, without giving away the exact answers and questions.