Inspired by the readings and my own experiences as a student, I worked with my students to co-create an exam; they came up with questions and I organized them into the form the students said they felt most comfortable with. It was difficult to have students think beyond multiple choice and scan-trons, but it worked– students began to think about how they can show what they have learned and are learning, rather than what thy have memorized. The test was made and taken; 34 questions, 50 minutes.
Now, I am grading. Should I create a rubric for the essay questions? Read the entire response and holistically grade each one individually? Of course it is nether this OR that, but a relationship between the two. What I dread is the numeric or alphabetical system which doesn’t tell students what they have learned, but rather where they land on a scale of 1-10, 1-100, A-f, unsatisfactory-beyond expectations. What I fear is that students will see that indicator and forget their progress– their new abilities and growing abilities to think critically, meta-cognitively, and across disciplines. I look forward to the day when I can have control over my syllabus and work around or remove exams.
Until then, I hope students neither fear or adore these systems, I hope we–together–find ways around the scales to the act of searching and researching and producing new knowledge(s) and possibilities for whatever our discipline or field may be; in my case, Appalachia.