Saturday, 7 June 2014

6 Steps For Creating Exams?

Deep breathe in..1..2..3.. Deep breathe out..1..2..3..
Feel that?
That is the sound of one relaxed teacher.
One relaxed teacher who just put the finishing touches on the last of her final exams!

how to create an exam, steps to prepare an exam, how to write an exam for teachers
A relaxing planning spot can solve everything!
     After a full semester, or even a full year, of activities, experiences, and assessments, it is hard to not feel nervous about preparing a final exam that somehow encompasses all of that in a 2 hour event. Personally, I do not believe formalized, traditional, exams are a good assessment technique and resent the fact that the set-up of them does not mirror my classroom experiences what-so-ever. (but that is a topic for another, much longer post).

     As a first year teacher I find that I am quite stressed out by having to create a final exam that, in one go:
- accurately assesses my student's understanding of curriculum outcomes
- includes formatting and organization policies of the school
- includes formatting and organization policies of the division
- and aligns with the learning opportunities experienced in my classroom

     Personally, I would love to create final assessments that allow for multi-media integration, collaborative partnerships, and student-choice. That format is what my students are familiar with from our in-class assessments and I feel that it is much more reflective of real-life. (Compared to silent, independent, written, exams in the gymnasium; talk about anxiety). While this is definitely something I will be working towards in the future, it is not something that is possible this year

With that in mind, here are the steps I took to create my exams this year:
1 ) Revisit the curriculum, my unit plans, & my previous assessments
- What were my goals for each unit
- What understandings did I expect students to leave with

2 ) Develop a timeline that proportionally maps out how much information each unit included
- Which units encompassed 5 main concepts spread out over x-amount of time
- Which units encompassed 2 main concepts, etc

3 ) Layout an exam format breaking up number of questions by unit length
- If unit 1 had 5 main concepts, it may make up 35% of the exam
- If unit 2 had 2 main concepts, it may make up 15% of the exam, etc

4 ) Subdivide each unit into higher level, middle level, and lower level thinking questions
- For each unit I tried my best to maintain the following ratio:
     - 60% higher level questions
     - 20% middle level questions
     - 20% lower level questions

5 ) Proof, proof, proof!
- Is there any spelling, grammar errors?
- Do my math add up for marking?
- Do my instructions make sense?
- Is the reading level appropriate?
- Have I included all the necessary reading passages, diagrams, graphs etc?
- Do I need to attach extra loose-leaf or graph paper?

6 ) Cross-reference, again, with curriculum, school, & divisional standards!

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Do you have to create your own exams or are they provided by your school/division?

What steps do you take when creating exams?

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