Pros and Cons of Final Exams

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Tuesday marks the beginning of Finals Week at my school.  I’ve been teaching for nine years, and each year I change the way I have administered and developed my midterm and final exam.  I have rarely been required to follow a particular format by my administration, which was a joy but also could be taxing.  I have utilized objective assessment formats: multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, and matching; subjective and project-based have also served as my culminating assessments.  I have reflected on the merits of the multiple formats and have determined a list of pros and cons for each.

Subjective Assessments (Multiple Choice, Fill-in-the-Blank, Matching, etc.)

Hand completing a multiple choice exam.

Hand completing a multiple choice exam.

Pros:

  • Easy to grade
  • Relatively easy to create
  • Trends in comprehension (number correct/incorrect) efficiently identified
  • Format can parallel standardized tests which allows for students to be more familiar and comfortable when assessed (ACT, SAT, state tests)

Cons:

  • Only assesses one type of learning/interpretation
  • Creating questions that truly align with objectives/standards can be difficult
  • Leaves little room for students to express themselves and their understanding
  • Little-to-no creativity or individuality allowed

Objective Assessments (Short Answer, Short Essay, Essay)

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Pros:

  • Students able to express themselves and their understanding in their own way
  • More room for individuality
  • Questions can be more easily created because they can encompass more ideas/skills

Cons:

  • Takes longer to grade
  • Some students are not strong writers
  • Addresses one learning style
  • Usually there are fewer questions (sometimes only one), therefore if it is interpreted incorrectly, students’ responses may not fully encompass their full knowledge
  • ESL/ESE students may struggle
  • Extensive rubrics required

Project-Based/Presentations

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Pros:

  • Allowance for multiple interpretations and approaches to answering the prompt
  • Creativity is encouraged
  • Application of classroom content to a real-world issue
  • Students are allowed to connect to the content in a real way
  • More learning styles are addressed
  • Collaboration is an option

Cons:

  • Requires outside of class time – teacher has little control over if it is completed
  • Developing the project requirements is more complex
  • Multiple aspects need to addressed when grading
  • Students need strong support in developing presentation skills; scaffolding required
  • Multiple days required for presentation
  • Extensive rubrics required

Conclusion

Ultimately, there is no one proper way to assess students; all formats present their advantages and disadvantages.  A good teacher who wants to truly assess their students’ complete understanding and skill level will not choose just one format, but will allow for multiple assessment formats.

Reflective Teaching Challenge Day Twenty Six: Teaching Resources

TWENTY SIX

What are your three favorite go-to sites for help/tips/resources in your teaching?

1.  BetterLesson

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My mind is literally boggled when I begin to attempt to fathom how useful and convenient this website is.  I first found it when I was searching for resources for introducing The Canterbury Tales and its themes.  A search result appeared and I innocently began to search through the content of the website, completely unaware of the treasure trove that I had uncovered.  BetterLesson.com is filled with lesson plans and resource materials that are searchable by content area, grade level, and Common Core standard.  The Common Core-aligned lessons are prepared by Master Teachers who have included their procedures and rationale for each lesson.  The best part is, it’s free.

Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 11.48.24 AM

2.  Pinterest

Pinterest of the Week

Words do not begin to express the amount of hours that I spend searching and pinning on Pinterest.  I am far from the first or last person to admit to a slight PinAddiction.  If you’d like to see what has caught my eye, check out my Pinterest page here.

Just a sampling:

Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 11.56.51 AMScreen Shot 2014-09-13 at 11.56.41 AM

3.  EasyTestMaker

Logo

EasyTestMaker has been my go-to resource for creating all of my tests and quizzes for the past four years.  I enjoy the simplicity of the interface, but also the plethora of options as far as question formatting and assessment version creation.  This website has a Free and Pro version.  I opted for the nominal fee to upgrade to be able to make multiple versions of tests.

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BONUS!

4.  Slide Share

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SlideShare allows for its users to upload and download PowerPoint presentations on thousands of topics.  I have found myself lacking in information or proper formatting for certain presentation topics, and SlideShare provides multiple options to either use directly or pull inspiration from.  Again, my favorite word appears: FREE

5.  Web English Teacher20120731-xcdg2qcpxjyfisfdqencecndkb

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I have found myself returning to Web English Teacher for almost all of my unit plan developing needs.  When I am searching for background information for either author or historical context, this web resources has come in handy.  Additionally, it provides many resource links and assignments/projects.  It’s FREE status makes this another invaluable resources for English teachers.

Reflective Teaching Challenge Day Thirteen: Favorite Teaching Websites

DAY THIRTEEN

Name the top edtech tools that you use on a consistent basis in the classroom, and rank them in terms of their perceived (by you) effectiveness.

I’m altering this blog topic because I have already addressed which applications I consistently use in the classroom and in preparation for lessons.  You can read about them here.  Instead, I am going to be sharing my five favorite websites that I use almost every single week when tweaking and planning my lessons. P.S. – They are not ranked; I’m changing all the rules #Anarchy

1.  BetterLesson

Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 11.40.13 AM

Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 11.40.26 AM

My mind is literally boggled when I begin to attempt to fathom how useful and convenient this website is.  I first found it when I was searching for resources for introducing The Canterbury Tales and its themes.  A search result appeared and I innocently began to search through the content of the website, completely unaware of the treasure trove that I had uncovered.  BetterLesson.com is filled with lesson plans and resource materials that are searchable by content area, grade level, and Common Core standard.  The Common Core-aligned lessons are prepared by Master Teachers who have included their procedures and rationale for each lesson.  The best part is, it’s free.

Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 11.48.24 AM

2.  Pinterest

Pinterest of the Week

Words do not begin to express the amount of hours that I spend searching and pinning on Pinterest.  I am far from the first or last person to admit to a slight PinAddiction.  If you’d like to see what has caught my eye, check out my Pinterest page here.

Just a sampling:

Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 11.56.51 AMScreen Shot 2014-09-13 at 11.56.41 AM

3.  EasyTestMaker

Logo

EasyTestMaker has been my go-to resource for creating all of my tests and quizzes for the past four years.  I enjoy the simplicity of the interface, but also the plethora of options as far as question formatting and assessment version creation.  This website has a Free and Pro version.  I opted for the nominal fee to upgrade to be able to make multiple versions of tests.

Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 11.35.03 AM

Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 11.35.24 AM

4.  Slide Share

Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 11.40.52 AM

SlideShare allows for its users to upload and download PowerPoint presentations on thousands of topics.  I have found myself lacking in information or proper formatting for certain presentation topics, and SlideShare provides multiple options to either use directly or pull inspiration from.  Again, my favorite word appears: FREE

5.  Web English Teacher20120731-xcdg2qcpxjyfisfdqencecndkb

Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 11.46.01 AM

I have found myself returning to Web English Teacher for almost all of my unit plan developing needs.  When I am searching for background information for either author or historical context, this web resources has come in handy.  Additionally, it provides many resource links and assignments/projects.  It’s FREE status makes this another invaluable resources for English teachers.