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Bernstein Project Previous Assessment Tools

The course had three forms of assessment in its normal offering--short essay examinations, laboratory write-ups, and a term paper. The lab reports and the term paper were already targeted at a mature level of understanding, so during the fall semester I reinvented the assessment used in the four cycles of examinations in the course. The driving metaphor for the work turned out to be "generalizable skill" as I explicitly measured understanding in contexts that were not identical to those used to teach the concepts. The new examination questions made reference to a key concept from the course and asked students to use that concept to elaborate or explain an example. Each alternate form of the examination presented a new specific context, so repeated examinations (an essential feature of this course) gave a somewhat different opportunity to demonstrate an understanding of the skill. Perhaps an example will make the evolution of the assessment clear. The following example includes an old version of the question from prior offerings, a new version of the question, and a variant with new context.


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