In this section, Dr. Jeremy Orloff and Dr. Jonathan Bloom discuss the challenge of developing exams that aligned with their active learning pedagogy.

One challenge we faced while teaching this course was developing exams that reflected our active learning pedagogy. Throughout the course, we encouraged students to think and to debate, but our exams largely asked procedural questions. We did include some conceptual questions on the exams, but they were mostly true/false items. These types of items didn’t successfully measure what we really wanted students to be able to do. We didn’t actually care if they could compute a p-value from a T-test. Rather, we wanted them to know what the p-value meant. We wanted them to be able to read a paper in mathematics, evaluate the key values in the paper, understand something about the methods used to derive them, and make decisions based on the data.

We weren’t training statisticians in this course; we were training consumers of statistics. We want to learn how to write exams that will better reflect our teaching objectives and practices. We will continue to investigate alternative summative assessments in future iterations of this course.