I stress about
writing tests, but rarely use the test banks that
Most of the questions are simply unusable, because they’re poorly written, too picky,
include “all of the above” or “none of the above” options (a cop out, IMHO), or are
just outright wrong. Nothing challenges an instructor’s credibility with students
more than when you have to throw out a bunch of test questions. If one is
successfully challenged, students challenge them all.
I wrote my first test bank
back in 1995, when I authored the ancillaries for my
UCLA professor, Jack Beatty. Our publisher, Brown & Benchmark, was very
particular about their test banks, and put me in contact with a husband and wife
team who actually study academic assessment in a very rigorous way. This
experience was in some ways tedious, but in the long-term, very helpful.
Here's a sample page with a figure based question!
Their advice certainly came in
handy when it was time to write a test bank for
Discovering Biological Psychology. My second edition test bank, which Cengage
provides in both electronic and hard copy form, arrived in my mailbox today. For my
first edition, I had some very valuable help from my friend Gayle Brosnan-Watters at
the University of Pennsylvania, Slippery Rock. I wrote the “nuts and bolts” factual
questions, while Gayle contributed some very creative conceptual and applied
questions. For the second edition, the time frame was such that I was on my own.
I added approximately 800 new multiple choice questions (phew!), but that was not
all. To provide faculty with the greatest flexibility, we added 10 true-false questions,
five or six short answer questions, and three essay questions per chapter. In
addition, we provided some “figure-based” questions in each of these formats,
so that faculty could ask students to write essays describing the structures or
processes illustrated in one of the figures from the text.
I tried to make the
question-writing process a bit more fun by using the
Social Security list of popular names for 1990 and 1991 (with the assumption
that many students who will be using the book will have those names).
I’d love to hear any feedback
about the test questions from students and faculty,
and no, the test bank is not for sale to students This may be one of the more
valuable books in my library, perhaps even more than my William James
thanks for your consideration!
For adopters, contact me for a complete figure based neuro identification examination!