While you may decide to make changes to the content and delivery of your exams for a specific reason, such as, to improve test security, you will likely discover that the changes you make improve other aspects of your course as well, such as student learning, mastery of content, and performance on other assignments. Some modifications are as follows:
- Break down the content of an exam into smaller components that become quizzes that occur frequently throughout the semester.
- Organize and sequence quizzes to parallel fundamental course concepts and related vocabulary as they are delivered through readings, lectures, and learning activities.
- Use standard objective questions (multiple-choice, T/F, fill-in-the-blank, and matching) in frequent, low-stakes quizzes to test for less complex learning outcomes, such as identify, define, and recognize.
- Use short answer essay prompts or other open-ended questions to test for higher order thinking, such as compare/contrast, apply, and predict. This will require that you identify and name the core concepts in your course, connect them to specific learning outcomes, and provide ample learning opportunities for students to practice and eventually master them. Consider allowing students to use an open-note, open-book format to respond to these types of questions, where the answers require synthesis of learned material and generation of new knowledge. Simple rubrics and Canvas SpeedGrader (Canvas article) can help make grading less time-consuming and more reliable among different graders.
- Given sufficient time, consider developing a larger pool of test items in order to create equivalent versions of the same exam content.