Saturday, December 06, 2008


Yesterday someone tried to start a fight about my final exam. The conversation went something like this:

Her: Wow, with a multiple choice exam, it must be really hard for you to grade their work.
Me: It's multiple choice, I'm not grading their work.
Her: Oh. Your students told me that they wish the final wasn't multiple choice.
Me: My class voted. They chose a multiple choice final by a 2-to-1 margin.

We've had five exams (all free response, graded by hand), 14 quizzes (ditto), a slew of online homework, and a bajillion clicker questions. By now I have enough data to assign grades -- even without the final. I'm quite willing to bet that very, very, very few students' letter grades are going to change based on their scores on the final.

Agree or disagree? Discuss: The role of the final exam in a gen-ed calculus course is to be a summative assessment that measures how much progress students have made towards mastering the course material. There are a variety of well-written item types that can achieve this goal, including multiple choice questions.