Context: This course was broken into three sections of material, and Exam 2 was developed to assess students on their comprehension of the second section of material, which included kinematics and the Reynolds Transport Theorem (applied to conservation of mass, momentum, and energy problems). The Final Exam was developed to assess student comprehension of all course material, with a slight emphasis on the third section (viscous flow in pipes, dimensional analysis). The goal of these exams was to evaluate student understanding of key concepts which were covered through lectures, recommended readings, homework assignments, and quizzes.
Reflection: Exam 2 and the Final Exam demonstrated the level of student understanding at the end of section 2 of the course material and at the end of the course, respectively. As part of my teaching philosophy, I believe that assessment of students’ learning should be done in a similar format to the way the material has been presented in class. Because of the time limit on exams, the focus should be on allowing the student to demonstrate his or her knowledge without being confused by the exam format or wording.
To improve Exam 2 in the future, I would consider developing an additional, optional exam question. If there were three short-answer questions, for example, I would like to provide four questions from which the student could select three to solve. This would give students the opportunity to better demonstrate their understanding, and would help me as an instructor to see where students were deficient and on which material more emphasis should be placed during lecture and through exercises and homework assignments. To make this improvement, I need access to textbook material and example problems in order to tailor exam questions to the students’ level and time allotted.
The Final Exam was developed using the course textbook (Munson) and a similar textbook (White). One major problem was selected and modified to cover each main section of course material, and several smaller problems and true/false questions touched on other key concepts.
For both exams, I created a grading rubric in an effort to be as consistent as possible with point deductions. Short-answer engineering exams can be difficult to grade because there are many ways for students to make mistakes, and it is nearly impossible that a rubric will cover each of these possibilities. However, using a rubric and grading one question at a time as advised by my faculty mentor ensures that grading is as consistent as possible. To improve grading in the future, I would try to use different question formats to varying extents, such as including more multiple choice questions that are each worth fewer points. I would also try to ensure that problems are very clear.