Effective Strategies in framing Assessment Questions by choosing appropriate terms in Higher Education in Science-An action research approach (virtual paper)

Anjum Afrooze, Prince Sultan University in Rijad, Saudi Arabia, ID LLCE2018-351;   Abstract: The curriculum at General Sciences department in a middle eastern university includes ‘’Physical science’’   for Computer Science, Information Technology and Business courses. Interior designing students also had to take chemistry as a General course.As science is not the major course,the instructors are often asked as to why the students are not offered  a course related to their major instead of Science? As both the students and majority of the instructors are nonnative speakers, student cohort is not enthusiastic about the course., which makes student learning mainly by memorization. After observing undermined student performance for two semesters on the assessment test, which were made by mutual consent among science faculty by selecting questions from the test bank, the instructor was keen on modification of the way in which assessment questions were selected and framed. The instructor believed that the students understood the concepts but was disappointed to find wrong answers in the tests.This study is participatory action research, in which  instructor designs effective ways in making the assessments, in order to enable students use there science knowledge to answer the questions and not be perplexed by difficult terminology in the question, which would make them less confident in understanding as to  what is asked? The study is conducted through two semesters with a total of 250 students. The effectiveness of this approach is studied using questionnaire at the end of each semester and teacher observation.Major outcomes of this study were overall fostering of confidence  in students, choice of correct formulae and laws, which lead to correct answering of questions and ultimately students achieving better grades than before and less number of failures. This process helped the instructor metamorphose into   reflecting practitioner and also enquire into ways to modify practices to improve student learning outcome. This project also contributed to opening  a path  to discussions among the faculty, about  making changes in related areas of the course material and eventually  in the creation of better curriculum materials and assessment papers. However, refinement in the strategies could be  done based on student cohort  and instructors observation.

Key words: test bank, language proficiency, unambiguous questions, fair assessment

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