Essays About Objectives

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Students study more efficiently in preparing for an essay test.

Research has shown that students generally spend less time on rote memorization of material when they study for an essay exam rather than a multiple-choice exam (e.g., Mayer 1975; Shavelson and Stern 1981).

Well-constructed essay questions test higher-level knowledge than most objective questions.

Abstract: More college teachers should make use of essay examinations in their courses.

Because they are used to taking multiple-choice tests.

By the time they enter college, students have had up to twelve years training in this type of examination; it is what they expect in most classes.Unlike the multiple-choice format, the essay is a subjective form of evaluation.And teachers often introduce biases into their grading.If you know whose paper is being evaluated, the grade may reflect personal feelings for that student, or may reflect influence from past grades.For example, if the student received an A on a past exam, you may tend to give a higher grade than is actually deserved on this exam (and vice versa if a student had received an F).Multiple-choice tests are easier to take (usually involving only simple recognition and recall), permit a certain amount of guessing, and require basic study skills.But multiple-choice exams, in my opinion, are the least appropriate evaluation tools for aiding student learning, at any grade level.Simply scanning a response and assigning it a numerical grade will not close the learning cycle.Students quickly learn how to study for your exams!If they perceive that you fail to grade their responses adequately (as indicated by your written comments and suggestions), students will not bother to study at a higher level for the next test, but will instead return to memorizing facts.Sometimes an essay question is not representative of the content covered.


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