Essay Question Formative Assessments in Large Section Courses: Two Studies Illustrating Easy and Effective Use
Exploring Learning & Teaching in Higher Education 349 (Mang Li & Yong Zhao, eds. 2015).
23 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2015
Date Written: 2015
Do formative assessments, via practice exercises accompanied by generalized feedback, make a difference in student final essay and short-answer exam performance? If so, does the practice help some students more than others? We sought to answer these questions in two studies performed with law students. We also sought to devise a duplicable model for examining those same questions across disciplines. Finally, we hoped to develop an easily workable method to provide practice and feedback to large section courses without unduly burdening faculty. This chapter discusses our findings that practice exercises and generalized feedback formative assessments can be done in large section courses with minimal additional professorial work, and that the effects of that practice can be easily studied. The chapter also discusses our findings that although practice exercises accompanied by annotated model answers and grading rubrics had a positive effect on student final-exam performance on essay questions and short-essay/short-answer test questions, the effects of the practice and feedback did not benefit all students equally – the students with the highest grade predictors received the greatest benefit from the formative assessments. This chapter explains the work and its implications for student learning as well as for future research.
Keywords: education, assessment, exam, essay questions, formative assessment, legal education, higher education, teaching
JEL Classification: I20, I29, K00, Z00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation