ICS 398B — UC Irvine — David G. Kay

Activity 4: Design Exams for Your Course

For next time, think about the quizzes and/or exams you'll be giving in your class. If your course wasn't designed to include exams, pick one of these approaches:

• Design an exam you'd give if your institution required that every class have a final exam
• Design a diagnostic test to give students at the beginning to make sure they have the necessary prerequisite knowledge and skills
• Refine further your design for the major assignment(s)
• Prepare three slides (give or take) and add them to your existing presentation:

1. An outline of the exam structure in the course, showing where each exam would come in the course outline. (The best way to do this would be to copy your class-by-class course outline and add each quiz or exam to the copy at the place where it would occur.) For each quiz or exam at this point, you'd just need a few words (e.g., "First quiz, covering basics of O-notation, 20 minutes" or "First midterm, covering all topics through trees, 80 minutes").

2. A more detailed outline of the first quiz or exam. For each question, describe what you're testing, the form of the question, and its weight. For example:
• O-notation: Give students code, ask them for the O-notation of its execution time (10%)
• Recursion: Ask students to describe in English what value a short recursive function returns (5%)
• Binary trees: Given a tree, produce its contents in the order that a preorder traversal would visit them (5%)

3. One page of actual questions from that first quiz or exam. Write the question(s) exactly as you'd give them to the students. (Remember back to vague, incomplete, ambiguous, or otherwise flawed exam questions you have seen, and avoid those characteristics.)

Please bring an electronic version to class to present (anything that will work with the classroom projection system is fine). Remember to combine this with your goals and outline from last time, so we can refer back to the previous material.

As always, feel free to send me e-mail or visit me with questions or comments.