Session 3: Constructing Effective Assignments, Problem Sets and Exam Questions

This session highlights ways in which exams, problem sets and homework assignments can be designed to best support student learning and understanding. Participants identify positive and negative attributes of sample homework problems and work collaboratively to redesign these problems in order to more effectively reinforce desired learning objectives.

Learning Objectives

After completing this session, the participant will be able to:

  • Formulate and organize the use of problem sets and assignments in your course to enhance student learning.
  • Evaluate homework and exam problems using Bloom’s Taxonomy.
  • Create homework and exam problems that align with your desired learning objectives.

Pre-Session Assignments

  1. In preparation for this session, please complete the following readings:
    • McClymer, J. F., & Knoles, L. Z. (1992). Ersatz learning, inauthentic testing. Journal on Excellence in College Teaching3, 33–50. [PDF]
    • Suskie, L. (2010). Chapter 10: Creating an effective assignment. In Assessing student learning: A common sense guide (2nd ed., pp. 155–164). San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons. [PDF]
  2. You may also find it helpful to review the Bloom’s Taxonomy reading from the pre-session readings for the session titled Designing a Course and Constructing a Syllabus.
  3. In addition, please have a textbook from your discipline available to you while participating in this session. Choose a textbook that contains problems, such as those found at the end of each chapter. We will be working with textbook problems during the session.

Session Outline

We have provided a session outline for this session. The outline is designed to serve as a guide while you are participating in the video and interactive activities and it may also serve as a support for note taking.

Two file formats of the outlines are provided for this session. The Adobe Reader [PDF] format is provided for easy viewing and printing, and the Microsoft Word [DOC] format is provided to allow you to add your notes by typing them directly into the outline during the session.

Additionally, the session presentation slides are provided for your reference [PDF].

NOTE: This section of the session page will provide a link to the outline file. However, this and all other course files are also available in the Session Files folder located at the bottom of this and every session page.

Session Chat Room

For this session we will utilize a chat room to provide you with real-time interaction with your peers and instructors. During the session time, the instructors will be logged into and available in the provided chat room. This tool provides a wonderful opportunity for you to interact with your instructors and peers in real-time.

Please use the chat room during the scheduled times to send and receive real-time messages between your peers and instructors regarding the session content. The chat room is provided as a real-time interactive tool for you to post questions and comments to your instructors.

We recommend that during each scheduled session you have two browser windows open: one to display the chat window and the other to display the online course session page. By having two windows open at the same time, both the chat room and session content will be visible at all times.

Session Introduction

Welcome to the third session of our course, which will focus on the construction of effective assignments, problem sets, and exam questions. During this session we will have an introduction to this session’s goals and learning objectives. Then we will discuss the logistics of implementing assessments within your course and we will end with the development of effective assessment questions.

During this session, we will interact with each other using pre-recorded video lectures that include pauses where you will engage in a variety of activities. Please ensure you have the chat window available during this session for directions, questions, and comments from your instructors and peers. Some of the activities will require you to interact with your peers, watch additional videos, and post responses to provided discussion forums located within the online course room.

We look forward to the opportunity to interact with you in the online chat room as well as during this session.

Once again, be prepared to pause the video and think about the questions posed.

Download the transcript for the Session 3 Introduction video.

Logistics and Development

This session on the creation of effective homework and exam questions will be divided into two parts. First, we will discuss the logistics of assessment methods, then we will discuss the development of these assessments.

During this video you will instructed to pause the video and post responses and questions to the chat room and discussion forum.

Download the transcript for the Logistics and Development video.

Interactive Activities

The final segment of this session will guide you through a discussion on the pre-session readings and a few interactive activities. During this video you will instructed to pause the video and post responses and questions to the chat room and discussion forum.

Download the transcript for the Interactive Activities video.

Prior to leaving this session, follow the MUD card link and complete the survey to provide the instructors with information regarding your understanding and any remaining questions you may have. Remember that the MUD card helps us understand how you are doing and if there are topics that we still need to address. We look forward to your comments and feedback. Thank you!

Session 3 Activity 1: Discussion Forum for Discussion
Session 3 Activity 2: Discussion Forum for Pair-Share Activity (30 minutes)
Session 3 Activity 3: Discussion Forum for Think-Pair-Share Activity (30-40 minutes)
Session 3 MUD card: Constructing Effective Assignments, Problem Sets & Exam QuestionsFeedback

Post-Session Assignment

Click the Post-Session Assignment link for the instructions and requirements for this sessions assignment. Note that this assignment will be evaluated.

Post-Session Assignment for Constructing Effective Assignments, Problem Sets, and Exam Questions

Additional Session Files

Blooms Taxonomy Example Problems [ PDF | DOC ]

Video Download

Download the Session 3 Constructing Effective Assignments, Problem Sets, and Exam Questions full video [187 MB, ZIP].