Category: Assessment

Exams and Goodhart’s Law

I blogged recently about the difficulty of finding the right assessment system. Afterwards, in a throwaway remark on twitter, I said that finding the right assessment format was a bit like finding the right system for exchange rates – fiendishly difficult because you want one system to serve a multitude of purposes. There are other… Read more »

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Norm-referencing and criterion-referencing

This is an excellent article by Tim Oates which looks at the different ways of awarding grades in national exams. In particular, it looks at norm-referencing and criterion-referencing. As Tim Oates notes, there seems something intrinsically unfair about norm-referencing, which is where you allocate a fixed percentage of grades each year. Each year, the top… Read more »

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Research on multiple choice questions

Since my last posts on multiple choice questions (here and here), Kris Boulton and Joe Kirby have pointed me in the direction of Robert Bjork’s work on remembering and forgetting. Here’s an extract from a paper titled ‘Multiple-Choice Tests Exonerated, at Least of Some Charges: Fostering Test-Induced Learning and Avoiding Test-Induced Forgetting’. The authors accept… Read more »

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Multiple choice questions, part two

In my previous blog post I gave an example of what I thought was an excellent multiple choice question, taken from the British Columbia leaving exam. It’s as follows: 15. How did the Soviet totalitarian system under Stalin differ from that of Hitler and Mussolini? A. It built up armed forces. B. It took away… Read more »

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Closed questions and higher order thinking

I know that Andrew Old often writes about the way that open questions are often, wrongly, seen as superior to closed questions – ie, it’s seen as being better to ask pupils questions that have lengthy answers and many possible answers rather than those that only have one straightforward right answer. I think one of… Read more »

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