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RESEARCH AND TEACHING

Assessing and Refining Group Take-
Home Exams as Authentic, Effective
Learning Experiences
By Corey M. Johnson, Kimberly A. Green, Betty J. Galbraith, and Carol M. Anelli

A
The learning goals of a lower dvocates for improving un- and engagement, behaviors driven
division honors course, Science dergraduate science edu- by feelings of responsibility to the
as a Way of Knowing, include cation call for pedagogies group (Cortright, 2003; Zipp, 2007).
critical thinking, scientific that engage students in rel- Educators and learning experts in-
literacy, quantitative reasoning, evant, “real-world” problem solving creasingly view fixed-choice exams as
communication, and teamwork. and cooperative learning (American limited measures of student learning
To help students develop skills Association for the Advancement of as they create artificial situations that
and competencies for the course Science, 2011; Handelsman et al., do not reflect learners’ responses in
learning outcomes, we used a case 2004). From his literature review, in- real-world situations (Oakleaf, 2008;
study and developed scaffolded cluding a meta-analysis of 164 stud- Simkin, 2005). Similarly, hourly or
activities and assignments that ies of cooperative learning methods, “midterm” exams fall short because
targeted discipline-relevant Michael (2006, p. 162) concluded they impose unrealistic time limits
tasks, for example, primary that “little doubt [exists] that stu- and often do not target higher level
literature search, evaluation of dents in groups learn more.” Studies cognitive skills. In contrast, perfor-
source credibility, hypothesis also report the effectiveness of group mance-based tasks that simulate real-
construction, data interpretation, exams as a learning tool. Group ex- life application of skills, knowledge,
and restatement of scientific content ams that require critical and higher and competencies enable assessment
into lay terminology. We then order thinking skills deepen contex- in authentic contexts (Mueller, 2012;
implemented group take-home tualization and improve retention Oakleaf, 2008). By emphasizing what
exams, which feature rigorous, (Drouin, 2010; Michael, 2006; Zipp, students can do with what they know,
open-ended questions in authentic 2007). Challenging exam questions authentic assessment complements
contexts, requiring students to promote student discussion, foster- traditional approaches that emphasize
apply knowledge and competencies ing communication skills (oral, writ- what students know about a body of
cooperatively to new situations. ten, listening) and facilitating learn- knowledge.
Data from five semesters show that, ing, in part through students serving The literature on group work,
in comparison to traditional exams, as peer instructors (Michael, 2006; together with that on authentic as-
many students feel that group take- Simkin, 2005). Group exams can sessment, suggests that group take-
home exams reduce test anxiety, reduce test anxiety (Morgan, 2005; home exams could provide both a
foster interpersonal skills, are more Simkin, 2005; Zipp, 2007) and en- valuable learning experience and a
rigorous, and better enable them to able students to practice interperson- means to assess student performance
apply and synthesize knowledge and al skills such as collaboration, reci- on real-world tasks. The authors had
deepen their comprehension of the procity, team building, troubleshoot- the opportunity to experiment with
subject matter. Our study augments ing, leadership, conflict resolution, such exams when our honors college
research on group exams that use an and trust (Rao, Collins, & DiCarlo, adopted a new curriculum in 2008,
open-ended response format. 2002; Simkin, 2005; Zipp, 2007). in which introductory courses focus
Students can build on one another’s on scholarly literature use in prepara-
academic and personal strengths and tion for the required thesis. (Honors
demonstrate enhanced motivation courses fulfill general education

Vol. 44, No. 5, 2015 61

coursework. an assess. for each exam the relieve the time constraint of hourly connections. one specializing in science.aspx) Nonscience majors constituted and short answers.) We were asked to develop division students. interpret degree. to complete scaffolded assignments The instructor exhorted students ply knowledge and competencies that included a case study (Hollis.org/college/connections. Science as a Way of ward design (Wiggins & McTighe. Our exams feature rigorous. five semesters of teaching the course. assessment exams featured a mix of brief essays nsta. that group take-home exams. most tored groups’ progress informally in undergraduate education: time on of which scrutinized Moran (2004). thinking. critical and outcomes (contextualized with. quality of student’s review yielded no published reports Anelli. 2011) individual work to date. the instruc- viously exposed and whose subject tor posted the answer key (sample Methods of instruction and matter had not been discussed. 2005) and several question sets to contact her with unresolvable exams embody four of seven long. next class period to discussion of the 62 Journal of College Science Teaching . to which students had not been pre. 2003). could provide real-world priate activities. Gil. ment specialist. and theories into lay terminology Knowing. tion and scientific literacies. and instructor of record). www. which Appendix A.nsta. comparably mixed problems while fostering learning ly written feedback (Fink. quantitative reasoning. Our team listic conventions. Such ter. and interpretation and each group had its own workspace. several experimental approaches). data. which student guided our pedagogy. and in evolutionary theory and the his. Appendix C. requiring students to the LMS site. but the ing & Gamson.org/college/ and interests. 2005) to align course learning goals (sample exam. we had students work in exam. the no student ever used the form.aspx). contexts and require students to ap. Interactive experience. instructor assembled students into exams. the instructor allowed 10–15 exams. Siciliano 2001). clarification issues were tions. 1996). 1987). and two instruction instructor selected research articles When the deadline for the com- librarians. on scientific database use. www. Appendix B. created appro. For group take-home exams. active learning techniques. www. types of each exam. len (2007) served as a supplemental for students who wished to submit can Association for Higher Education “how to” guide on the structure. and critical read. and provided time. test of predic.org/college/connections.e. Here we report our findings on expertise. pleted exam expired. small groups. emphasizing informa. by querying groups during class or task. communication of high expecta. major and on exams like ours. www. We hypothesized tory of biology. The groups complete entirely outside of lectures and discussions focused instructor assembled new groups for class and which feature authentic. and rigor and design (i. (samples. in and outside of class. students’ self-reported and cooperative work. sources. minutes of class time for groups to open-ended questions in authentic bers each). instructor intervened at her discre- good practice for effective assessment minimal use of disciplinary jargon. (gender. credibility of sources and learning management system (LMS). the involves representatives from across and conceptual accessibility. Galbraith. with their groups’ answer(s). She moni- recognized essentials of good practice org/college/connections.aspx). and restate scientific content a new course. With the exam. tion when asked. small groups (three to five mem. She devoted the 20%–25% of course enrollment. The grading key. to be “good team members” and cooperatively to new situations. Our literature Earlier assessment efforts (Johnson. meet and make organizational plans. In addition. Because our students comprise a communication. instructor posted a dissension form the educational community (Ameri. resolved at once. a primary article selected for its via LMS. group issues/questions. Appendix D. student attitudes and perceptions and evaluation of research articles. their own answer(s) if they disagreed and Accreditation. On the refinement of group take-home exams skills and competencies emphasized day that students gained access to the used in lieu of midterm or hourly on exams. To accessible only to its student mem- our research on implementation and move them progressively through bers and the current authors. in our comprises a subject expert (professor ing of primary scientific articles. & Green. to search the primary literature (con. spectrum of backgrounds.nsta. nsta. Within the course online discipline-relevant tasks. We used back..aspx). sty. sample syllabus. Most groups did reciprocity and cooperation (Chicker. tions of evolutionary theory using their own troubleshooting.RESEARCH AND TEACHING requirements for the baccalaureate with class size limited to 25 lower temporary and historical). majors.

5.aspx). Appendix D. etc.nsta. and/or breaks the contract in any way.org/ We will indicate individual contributions (tracking. We further understand exams. fall 2011.and postcourse We. Communicate constructively to group discussion & answers We did not track individual students 4. and edit the entire exam by the time agreed upon by the data from all five semesters that we group 10.aspx) contributed 48% ± 4% (M ± SD) to a student’s overall GROUP CONTRACT FOR EXAM #___ course grade. in- providing detailed breakdown of tributed 14% ± 2% (M ± SD) to the class. not factored into group exam grades. or making the semesters. students took an individual. www. each of which con. and emphasized We typically administered two relationship.org/ on semester.. facilitated by visual projection college/connections. overall course grade. we understand that the other team members have the right and are expected tive and negative aspects of group to contact (instructor name) and inform her of the situation. 2015 63 . various assignments.nsta.org/college/ Template for small group take-home exam contract connections. in Weeks 6 and 11 of a 15-week within a given group. spring 2009.aspx). To encourage groups course grade. have together devised and agreed to an initial plan (below) for anonymous questionnaires (Appen- working on the exam (insert initial deadline(s) for work to be shared via Google docs). closed-book final exam.aspx). time) taught the course: fall 2008 (initial 11.g. and exam scores (gener- ated by the instructor using grading Each of us also agrees to do the following: 1. FIGURE 1 Appendix A. comment on. the undersigned. 2. we used pre. we pooled 9. teammate complete the exam alone. all members sometimes led to improvements in semester. Beginning with fall 2010. Complete all tasks agreed upon by the group on time prompts. Ensure that the exam final version is ready to be uploaded by (date. Vol. exam (based on criteria in Isaacs. and fall 2012. which the instructor used ___________________________ ____________________________ to assess group dynamics (student grades were not impacted). to take ownership of their working of the grading key. No. Encourage and assist my team members pre. For Likert-scale 5. Take a leadership role as needed 6. see syllabus. Groups had 7–10 days received the same exam grade. depending on semes- ter. which did not change from 8. www. college/connections. Notice and work to curtail whatever tendencies I may sometimes exhibit that course offering). All how future exams were written (e.exam. Complete/upload my exam portion and share it with the team by (date. and perfor- mance. www. Be cooperative and understanding in pre–post pairings. students also completed self. Our ___________________________ ____________________________ institutional review board approved our protocols and instruments prior to implementation.) and contact (in- structor name) ASAP with concerns. Attend group meetings (virtually or in person) keys. fall others may perceive as uncooperative 2010.and postcourse questionnaire 7. Read. (COURSE NAME & NUMBER. individual effort was problematic questions as revealed group take-home exams per semes. 2002).and peer-performance forms after each Signed. DATE) To assess students’ attitudes. For open-ended prompts as to the posi- If any one of us causes difficulty with the group. 44. Individual effort (attendance. GROUP NAME ______________________________ background knowledge. 3. see sample. we coded and summarized that (instructor name) will serve as arbiter and may decide to penalize the teammate data by semester and across all five in question by lowering his/her grade in accord with the situation.org/college/connections.nsta. depending 16% ± 3% (M ± SD) of the overall also see Appendix E. Discussion ter. honors college anonymous end-of-course Plan: (Group inserts details here) evaluations. worth point allocations for exam questions. by student feedback. for each exam. time) semester to semester. available at www. Maintain contact w/group members nsta. dix F. color coding.

64 Journal of College Science Teaching .RESEARCH AND TEACHING FIGURE 2 Pre.and postcourse questionnaire responses regarding group work and communication (Likert scale responses).

Apparently a comparable percentage of students pre. the majority apply and synthesize knowledge. 2015 65 . pre. and respondents felt they had made gains Our postcourse questionnaire in- (d) implement a draft deadline on Day in these areas (Figure 2c and d). implemented with Exam 1. spanning two weekends (ours Pre. significant shift in the means. and efitted their interpersonal skills. fall comfortable working in groups. whereas the percentage of students who dis- sented from that preference increased by 13% in pre. relevance (Figure 4b). munication of scientific research with frequent updates (implemented (Figure 2a and b). fall 2011). compared with 15% who dissented group leader to keep members on task sible because. exam completion and participation. Of 77 respondents.vs. group-exam process: (a) designate a on these specific changes is not pos. 71% (N = changes were important to the group application of skills or knowledge. At the course outset. (b) schedule the effort than traditional exams (Figure exam over a 10-day period (instead Results 4a). and assemble their work (we assigned we taught only one course section per student perceptions were split on leaders randomly.versus postcourse preferred learned/memo- rized exams (39% vs. Figure 1).versus postcourse data (33% vs. group take-home exams were more to implement changes to improve the Assessment of improvement based rigorous than traditional exams. implemented with group. The vast majority reported that of 7). this change mitigated of students indicated that they were deepened their comprehension. Figure 3). structure of the process remained the percent of respondents indicated that sessment over five semesters led us same throughout the five semesters. group is a rural campus and students’ co. fall 2012. postcourse observations (cross-tabu- lation analysis: χ2(4) = 10. distant locations. completed individually).” making it the fourth Vol. cluded a list of course activities and 7 for groups’ answers to be uploaded We asked students if they preferred resources from which we asked stu- to their LMS site (implemented with exams that ask for information learned/ dents to select those that helped them Exam 2. in-class. No. more (40%) or less (35%) individual Exam 1. from that view (31% being neutral).05. (c) require groups to submit a most appeared motivated to gain increased their awareness of course completed contract detailing plans for experience in oral and written com. no student served semester and had no “nontreatment” whether take-home exams required more than once. the fundamental The data did not indicate a statistically for exams. 55) selected the entry “group work exam experience.24. p < . 44.and questionnaires. 35%). Fifty-five Our experiences and formative as. postcourse tribution of responses between pre. A set of six questions in the post- course questionnaire targeted stu- dents’ perceptions of our group take-home exams compared with traditional exams (hourly. Although these memorized or exams that require the learn. ben- stress. fall 2012). but there FIGURE 3 was a significant difference in the dis- Comparison of exam-type preference.and postcourse anonymous compared with hourly exams. Most postcourse Course activities and resources with Exam 1. 20%). and 2011). questionnaires take-home exams enabled them to curricular activities often occur at At the course outset. 41% of students expressed neutrality on exam preference versus 32% in postcourse analyses. 5. given our enrollment.

data Postcourse questionnaire responses regarding group take-home not shown). followed by exam length/workload.7% SD for 10 exam averages. 5 semesters. fol- lowed by learning quality afforded by group exams.RESEARCH AND TEACHING most selected item after PowerPoints FIGURE 4 (84%). www. p = . Appendix C. exams. range of averages for 5 semesters mates (62. group exam performance forms agreed / 59% agreed). (sample exam.6%). The largest positive- to-negative comment ratios occurred in the last two semesters.aspx). which we categorized and summarized (Table 1). No exams were agree) and that the course had posi. writing (33% strongly On our grading scale. Honors course evaluations Students completed honors college / 36% agreed. by which time some or all improvements to the exam process (see Methods section) had been implemented.3% ± 3. and quantita.19).0% improved at collaborating with class.3% Students rated their own and each tive reasoning (53% strongly agreed ± 3.8% quantitative reasoning. = 76. completed by in- 2012). N = 58) indicated that they had transfer of skills in information and averaged B to B+ (M = 82. critical thinking. Most negative comments focused on group members’ unequal contributions to the exam (quality and/or quantity). The largest number of positive comments cited various benefits of the group experience.org/college/connections. data not shown).” tively impacted their skills in criti. data group member’s performance on ex- 66 Journal of College Science Teaching .1% strongly agree / 32. science literacies. Comments on group take-home exams Postcourse questionnaires prompted students to “comment on the posi- tive and/or negative aspects of group take-home exams. final exam three semesters (fall 2010 to fall Exam scores grades (closed book. grades averaged B+ to A– (M = 88. SD.73. 43 of 77 respondents (56%) yielded a pool of 32 negative and 41 positive comments. and the textbook (80%. cal thinking (64% strongly agreed / nsta. For informational (not anonymous course evaluations for comparative) purposes. and communi. Respondents (58. Postexam self. Analysis showed no significant trend in positive-to-neg- ative comment ratios in successive semesters (logistic regression: χ2(1) = 1. cation about science to new situations graded on a “curve.6% response Group take-home exams required dividual students) over five semesters rate. class discussions (84%). not shown).and peer- 36% agreed).8% – 85.” In five semes- ters’ data.

problems with scheduling. peers’ work vast majority of students rated their habits/behavior). collaboration/brainstorming. general and specific 5. aged and assisted other group mem. ad. with distribution and coding of open-ended comments about the group take-home exams. Benefits of group collaboration 2.g. leadership. followed by gen- own efforts highly (very well = 815 Comments on group take-home eral/specific criticism of the exam [79%]. The bers. com- ings (86*12. sharing of equate = 415 [13%]. comments. Requirement for draft exam on day 7 Note: An individual student may have offered >1 comment. Doesn’t prepare for in-class. The largest number of posi- were “I took a leadership role as things about the group exam and tive comments cited greater time needed” and “I read and commented suggest improvements. forms. 5. the largest number of nega- equate. and commented in a timely manner tive student comments postexam dents completed self-performance on drafts of the exam” and “Encour. Criticism of exam. with aggregate ratings 85 positive comments (Table 2). To greater exposure to learning styles. 44. (260*12). 3 = poor). poor = 87 [3%]. yielding a total of 1. Conducive to quality learning 3. The criteria to postcourse questionnaire data in Likert scale (1 = very well..120 ratings yielding a total of 41 negative and (e. knowing classmates bet- TABLE 1 Student response rates on postcourse questionnaires. challenges dividing work- The criteria with the most 3s (poor) dents to state positive and negative load). in-class exam 6. word limits. no response = 11 [1%]).032 rat. authenticity of tasks.. 68 versus an in-class exam. adequate = 183 [18%]. Performance forms prompted stu. certain exam ques- = 23 [2%].” munication. Vol. # Negative comment codings # Positive comment codings 1. tions. Better than in-class exams 5. mirroring those for self-performance categorize and summarize students’ practice with conflict resolution. 2015 67 . individual final exam 3. ria as those for Table 1. forms (very well = 2. 2 = ad.g. No. Praise for exam. poor exams (e.g. Unequal group sizes and individual contributions 1. More time to complete vs.. with the most 3s (poor) were “Read Table 1. both positive and negative. we used the same crite. Worse than in-class exams 2. data not shown). to complete the group take-home in a timely manner on drafts of the dents who completed the forms.” Peer-performance forms (83%) responded to the prompts. followed exam. In contrast workload. Eighty-six stu.ams according to 12 criteria using a no response = 9 [<1%]). focused on group dynamics (e. by benefits of the group experience (N = 260) yielded 3.609 [84%]. general and specific 4. Group dynamics issues 4. Of 81 stu.

20). individual final exam 3. and many decry cause. attitudes toward science can damp. both positive and negative. Better than in-class exams 5. Initially comments trended toward increas. Worse than in-class exams 2. but knowledge and skills collaboratively The ratio of positive-to-negative cognizant of challenges. our and synthesize knowledge. made them more aware of were eager to explore group take. Group dynamics issues 4. and helped them hone home exams as impactful student facilitate assessment and evaluation interpersonal skills. Benefits of group collaboration 2.63. home exams enabled them to apply teract productively with others rep. Unequal group sizes and individual contributions 1. coursework. (logistic regression analysis: χ2(1) = in their scores on the cumulative partly because they lacked experience 1. final exam (which included higher with this type of exam. Doesn’t prepare for in-class. to gauge students’ performance. material. order questions). 68 Journal of College Science Teaching . Yet most students left en their interest. Challenges notwithstanding. In addition. Requirement for draft exam on day 7 Note: An individual student may have offered >1 comment. in-class exam 6. nonmajors’ their busy lives presented scheduling Day 7 draft deadline. but also be- ments for fall 2012 Exam #2 (32%. real-world tasks. The vast majority learning experiences and as tools of students’ ability to apply science also indicated that our course posi- TABLE 2 Student response rates on postexam performance forms. Conducive to quality learning 3. We exams can provide positive learn. # Negative comment codings # Positive comment codings 1. Criticism of exam. and some students the course feeling more comfortable Discussion in our lower division course are still about performing group work. with distribution and coding of open-ended comments about the group exam. ing experiences and simultaneously its relevance. our students expressed anxiety that ing over the last three semesters. N = 10) cited implementation of the group work. p = . deepened resent critical life skills and embody results suggest that group take-home their comprehension of the course our course learning outcomes. working harder for the group). as highly engaged individuals. students are academically motivat. and The abilities to evaluate and make adjusting to the demands of college the majority felt that group take- sense of scientific findings and to in. difficulties. as reflected reflect their group’s collective efforts. most positive com.RESEARCH AND TEACHING ter. al. Praise for exam. general and specific 5. More time to complete vs. general and specific 4. ed and have good track records as their semester exam grades would though this trend was not significant independent achievers. Honors to authentic.

Others saw the allowance for take-home exams. the top positive comment It does appear that group take- generally performed well but seldom category on postcourse question. it needs to change so that if of data. we do not more?” (p. To address this As anticipated. practice concise writing. activity: semesters as an individual. this would have signifi- the exams required critical thinking overemphasize these data. and their discontent with particular wanted to incentivize students to ming” for exam preparation and/or teammates. Interestingly. and do suggest that instructors should and diminished the opportunity for some characterized the exams as a consider that students’ feedback can students to hone collaborative skills. minds. concrete suggestions” to improve provide insight into their perceptions tion. No. as it was the most prolific top- students felt our exams were more laboration. individual effort by giving students have fruitful discussions. On strove to address issues proactively. home exams were on students’ achieved 100%. quantitative reasoning. As group take-home exams questionnaires focused on unequal and postcourse questionnaires. The top two ters that we taught the course. In the last two semes- science communication skills (An. affect that would appear on the final. tive comments. Some comments compared with 5% on at least one take-home exam to be a students expressed excitement that postcourse questionnaires. Teaching and assessment improve at working cooperatively. One of the students de. exam experience is relatively fresh. 2002). assessment-based changes we im- findings lend support to the positive sues and criticism of the exam itself plemented helped improve the exam impact of cooperative work. 44. That is an irrelevant criterion concern we provided a study sheet ature and our teaching experiences. forms. experience.” whereas on postexam ic for comment among postcourse re- rigorous than traditional exams. two types of data. underscoring group take. the relative rankings home exams as impactful learning writing. your learning?” “What about the basis of five semesters’ worth and as students will undoubtedly en. administered all five called it “one of [his/her] best experi. and of comments differed between the experiences. these compared with group dynamics is. in-class exam.. and their self-reported gains suggest Vol. & Green. because it relieved the pressure from recall both the benefits of teamwork we chose not to do so because we individual performance and “cram. on postexam performance forms. students earned on aver- counter undesirable peer behaviors we do it again. Rao et al. negative comments on postcourse both postexam performance forms 2015). and students’ performance versus performance forms were learn. 5. . an approach many instructors group take-home format as superior with the passage of time they may use (Simkin. we and related group work constituted a group sizes/individual contribution received more positive than nega- considerable portion of course activi. We did that activity. based on the liter. but grade. comparable.tively affected their critical thinking. and learn students value most the greater time individual grades plus the group’s conflict resolution. Johnson. on elli. groups Similarly. “greater time allowance” spondents who provided “one or two Students’ open-ended comments was the most popular commenda. completion. ams did not compromise rigor. vary over time. . great way to learn and retain infor. . you will learn age 5 percentage points less on the throughout their lives. expert Maryellen Weimer (2002) Still other students believed that the scribed our exams as “fun. 2015 69 . but they cantly increased our grading effort and application of knowledge. suggesting that the ties and final grade computation. accounting for 30% of student the course.” book. although Almost three quarters of our students the final that required application the types of positive and negative selected “work for group exams” as of knowledge and skills per the syl- comments made on questionnaires a course activity that helped them labus. and about half of our naires was “benefits of group col. issues and the group exam format. The questions you need that showed point allocations for the challenges surfaced and students answered are these: “How various topics and types of questions voiced complaints and concerns. We embedded questions in group exams. Our ex. Not to solo effort. closed- ences for college exams. .” yet another whether they “liked” a particular the final exam. Galbraith. Many students wanted of group take-home exams. 199) final exam versus group take-home see challenges as reason to avoid exams. . 2005.” another urged instructors not to ask students group exam ill-prepared them for claimed to “love them. Perhaps when the Others suggested that we account for mation.

70 Journal of College Science Teaching . low-stakes Assessment also led us to designate of fixed answers for questions that activities.” and many come to view the exams as a Advancement of Science. and through assess. took time. texting.RESEARCH AND TEACHING that course learning outcomes were many pairs of student eyes reviewed positive learning experience. we designed creative (dare we say group take-home exams lead us to Binghamton University. both problems diminished research articles that were relatively Fourth. Third. Having only 5 or 6 exams to a need increasingly drawing the atten- laboration. Technological advances also that developing a group take-home home exam (Morgan. online ar. even attribution. We believe instructors can and project management issues. helped provide feedback during dis. Second. progress. 2005). Students used the “extra” grade versus 25 represented a “plus. (2011). assess each student’s contribution by use such exams to measure and enrich Our Day 7 draft policy with a Day having groups indicate in the e-ver. We could of class. and Use assessment recurrently to make For instructors. References were essentially nonexistent because form discipline-relevant tasks. and and explain how their attainment felt negatively impacted their learn. We monitored student port on exams that features authentic. each exam answer for proper idea We have not found a published re- Most groups functioned well. Plagiarism concerns practice cooperative skills and per. In 2008. conceptual blocks. groups’ answers promoted instructor course learning goals to your students conquer” exam questions. homework a leader for each group. we found before administering a group take- pear. etc. answers. student learning and transferability of 10 exam deadline garnered many sion of their exam who contributed science knowledge and competencies. and/or discipline-relevant tasks for student “I love my group!”). what. causing “lack target higher levels of understanding. our experiences with pedagogy. recommendations to experiment with and expand on this ing advantage of this flexibility. excellently (e. refine: iarity with and use of Google Docs. For large enroll. facilitated group work. of leadership” complaints to disap. current scientific literature. On the negative side. cussion of the exam. and American Association for the answers could not be “googled. and Dr. to specific content knowledge). We acknowledge Dr. be clear and fair: State your with the greater prevalence of mobile free of scientific jargon yet amenable exam policies and implement them phones. David Sloan Wilson. On balance. to assessment of student achievement outweigh the negative. the New York Times presentation on group exams for her mi- Tuesday science section. which they objectivity. positive responses and improved col. saved grading time. scholarly Conclusions and crobiology course inspired the instructor essays. and students’ famil. Scientific research in complex. group take-home creating exam questions aimed at the needed adjustments to your exams exams offer plusses and minuses. We time to review and edit teammates’ Preparing a grading key with detailed offer these recommendations. Locating as needed. 2013).. whose 2008 chival materials. give feedback regularly. assignments worth minimal points. laborative and work skills and provide with group members and tracking the ing a student-friendly grading key prompt guidance and intervention latest version of their group’s exam for open-ended responses. by their performance. suitable articles. First. build ment we discovered that our students ment courses with significant grading skills and give practice: Have students needed practice developing the habit demands. O’Dowd (2011) provided practice teamwork and self/peer of reviewing teammates’ answers. for example. stu. Students can of outcomes. answers and complained less about point allocations before evaluating build motivation: Articulate your the perceived need to “divide-and. Colorado State University. and policies. exam required more effort than a assess and guide: Assess students’ col- dents had difficulties communicating traditional hourly exam as did writ. vocative. We concur. adequately met (Anelli et al.g. guidance on implementing a choice evaluations on scaffolded. Erica Suchman. to testing students’ skills (as opposed consistently and fairly.” tion of educators (Mervis. ■ The format affords development of cies. one student wrote. Finally. in-depth questions that can the media (including the “Ig Nobel Acknowledgments draw on an array of materials: the Prizes”) often provided leads to pro. Tak. of those goals will be demonstrated ing.. 2015). but we instituted misperceptions by informally asking groups to complete entirely outside changes to diminish procrastination how the exam was going. application of scientific competen. who suggested “fun”?) exams that were amenable conclude that the positive aspects the use of contracts for our exams. YouTube videos.

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