Thursday, March 11, 2010
A Law School Midterm Week: Hell Week or a Helluva Good Idea?
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There is an alternative to a graded midterm (which would be a nightmare for those of us who teach classes of 95-100 students). I give my 1L Civil Procedure students 7 quizzes over the course of the semester, one on each of the major units in the course. They are worth a total of 20% of the grade. They give students an idea of how they're doing, as well as counting toward the grade; and because they get feedback (see below), they also learn from taking the quizzes.
I post the quizzes on our version of Blackboard when we finish a unit, and they are due at the end of the following weekend. Students can take them any time, anywhere, on their computers. They consist of all objective questions (multiple choice, check-all-that-apply, ordering, matching, etc.) so Blackboard grades them. As soon as they submit their completed quiz, they have access not only to their scores, but also to the right answers and to feedback about the answers that I write when I construct the quiz. (Along the lines of "Answers a and b are incorrect because . . .;" "If you read Rule [x] carefully you will see . . ." etc.). All of this capability is built into the Blackboard software -- it's not the most intuitive system, but I can send basic instructions to anyone who wants them.
Posted by: Suzanna Sherry | Mar 11, 2010 11:14:11 AM
An ungraded midterm is a fantastic idea - gives valuable feedback/tracking without putting the pressure of grades onto it and drawing focus away from other classes. I think this should be much more common place!
Posted by: Law Training Contract | Mar 15, 2010 11:23:17 AM
I like the quiz idea. But it sounds like a lot of work coming up with all of those questions.
Posted by: Bruce Boyden | Mar 15, 2010 1:22:15 PM