Date: Wed, 01 Nov 2000 12:45:59 -0500

Author: Tom Ford

Subject: Re: lab Exams


Why treat the "written part" as a sidebar? There should be sufficient
opportunity to effectively illustrate and communicate and even compare the
lab findings both within and following the tactile time in the lab setting.
I would treat the experience on the "sandbox" principle -- "If I wanted you
to use it, I put it in your sandbox; if it is not there right now, I don't
want you to use it." This is the way to handle whether lasers or
calculators or computers or multimeters, etc. can be used. A checklist will
keep students on the track that you plan to evaluate. This is an excellent
opportunity to wait until after the session to see whether a measurment has
been made on student understanding and performance rather than deciding
beforehand which question is worth bonus points. Students might learn
something useful if the rules for conducting their inquiry, in terms of
uncertainties and the like, are the same as those to be used in evaluating
their work. A lab exam can be just as "real" as any other form of
evaluation from the teacher viewpoint and is almost certain to be perceived
as more "real" from the viewpoint of the student.

Tom Ford

At 04:36 PM 10/31/00 -0700, Dave wrote:
> I am working on a lab exam for Introductory Lab. The class is aimed
>at non-majors, relatively little algebra, to accompany a General Ed class.
> For the practical part, I am going to watch the groups measure the
>length and time of a set of pendula, they will have to plot it and use the
>plot to predict a different pendulum's period
>I will also have them determine the mass of a paper clip or tack using a pan
> I hope to see them, make measurements of many clips and divide
>because the mass is so small.
>I would also like to have a written part to the exam,
> I thought of a couple questions but am drawing a blank. I
>can't quite come up with anything. I either get too simple or too complex
>of questions. In all the classes I took, I never had a "lab exam". The
>exams were problems/calculations and the labs were separate.
>Any one have some Ideas?
>Thanks in advance.