I took a test on a module of my modular A-Level Geography course (English qualification) today and other exams in the past couple of days, so this story addresses something which has been on my mind somewhat.
The geography exam I took today was, I thought, structured very well. There are four questions, each worth 25 marks. Two of these questions are printed in bold and have a star character printed next to the number. You are required to select two questions to answer, one of which is a starred question.
These questions are then broken into two pieces. The first piece will be a selection of questions based on some information provided in a resource booklet provided with the examination paper, which will in some form require interpretation and application to concepts taught in the course. The second piece will ask a broader question relating to the topic of the first question, but require references to "named locations from your studies."
For example, in today's paper was a question whose first part was a two-part question and whose second part was a single question. I can't be bothered to create nested ordered lists, so this will have to suffice... (these are paraphrased as I no longer have a copy)
- Study Figure 2. [fig2 is a map of Liverpool with shaded areas showing the level of deprivation in each area] Describe and suggest reasons for the trends shown on the map.
- Outline a fieldwork strategy for measuring deprivation within an urban area. Identify any primary and secondary data you would require.
- With reference to a named large urban area from your studies, describe how the problem of social deprivation is being tackled.
I felt that this is a great way to mix recall-based testing and 'objective' testing (for want of a better word).
I'm familiar to a certain extent with the US Education System's testing mechanism and I'm aware they differ quite significantly from that in the UK, but I provide this as an example of what I think is the "right way" to do testing.
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