21st Century Exams?

Today during my senior Physical Education class my students completed a test under exam conditions. The test was on the topic of ‘Biomechanics’ and to the naked eye it looked very much like one of the traditional tests I sat while I was at school. However look a little deeper and this exam was a little different; Here’s why…

  1.  In the days preceding the test, I scheduled SMS messages to be delivered to the students phones that contained questions requiring them to employ a series of higher order thinking skills, such as evaluation and synthesis. It was clear that the ability to reflect on the learning process of a period of days was a real advantage to the questions the final product.
  2. The next difference was that some of the questions required the students to seek outside help. In the example below students had to SMS a friend who would then choose a random sport and send this back. The students then used this sport as the basis for their responses.  In my opinion this question is more aligned with the real world, in that the students had to be able to apply their knowledge and understanding into a situation that was determined by a friend as opposed to a concrete question on a piece of paper.


       3.    The final difference was in that I encouraged the students to bring in their Mp3 players that had been pre-recorded with a series of student created podcasts of all the lower order elements of blooms taxonomy such as definitions and discussions. They then used these throughout the test as prompts to assist them in responding to the higher order questions. 

Overall a very successful approach that has certainly proved to me that the powers of reflection & collaboration in the learning process can have a  dramatic effect on the quality of the work presented. Well done students.

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