Deep breathe in..1..2..3.. Deep breathe out..1..2..3..
That is the sound of one relaxed teacher.
One relaxed teacher who just put the finishing touches on the last of her final exams!
|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!
Do you have to create your own exams or are they provided by your school/division?
What steps do you take when creating exams?