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Why assignments and Quizes?

It is easy for a teacher to believe that transfer knowledge when it amounts to telling a piece  of information is the simplest objective that a teacher can achieve. It is not very uncommon to find teachers complaining that the students cannot do certain simple things after what more needs to be done than telling them once or twice. Years of experience tell that this practise does not always yield desired results.

I personally believe that what ever is considered important, a problem or a question must be set in tests, in final examination, or in assignments. If nothing else, it serves the purpose of checking whether we have succeeded in carrying them forward.

So it is my considered view that the best medicine for students not being able to perform, to the desired level, is to try to add a problem or a short question(s) on every thing is considered an important piece of objective.

What if this medicine does not work? Change the medium or the combination of medicines. In nothing else works,  increase the dose!

Unless planned and executed carefully, increasing the dose will have side effects on the time a teacher has to spend.

Of course all this is easier said than done and has its own side effects of generating more work for the teacher. It is not the objective here to discuss all such issues here. The objective is to present ways of assessing students understanding of  oncepts in a systematic fashion.

Focussing on concepts

Physics and mathematics courses are full of concepts. Very often the students are able to acquire problem solving skills but lack a clear and precise understanding of concepts.

Without initiating a discussion on pros and cons, I present what has been tried as a test case.

The quiz is attached in the second tab and the process of creating the quiz has been explained in the third tab. The evaluation process is explained in the fourth tab of this page. Following that process it took about 10 minutes for evaluation of all the 50 plus answer sheets. This is scalable and time requirement will not increase linearly with the class strength.

The Ranking Quiz


AnswersTo The Ranking Quiz


Quiz Creation Process 

Creation of the quiz

The creation of meaningful quizzes like this poses challnges. To create meaningful and realistic quizzes of this type covering a full range of concepts for a single course can be a challenging and time consuming job.

This quiz was actually created by a simple process of ``crowd sourcing''. To prepare the quiz, the class was given 30 minutes to answer  two simple questions in prepatory Quiz ( Click here to see this Quiz )  This quiz was discussed and evaluated and the papers were shown, but not returned back, to the students. A very large number of responses were received for the two questions. After eliminating duplicate, or near identical, responses still there were a large number, about 50 responses for each of the two questions. These were then used as input for creating the   Quiz III. The responses to the questions gave a fairly good idea of how well the students understood the concepts of stationary states and of role of Hamiltonian. The responses to the first question were used as input to create the Quiz-III and one more on the  Hamiltonian. 


Administering and Evaluation
For this quiz the students were given 15 minutes to complete, but in practise many of them took up to 25 minutes to submit. The quiz in the tabon ``Stationary States'', was then discussed immediately after every one turned the papers in.  The correct ranking was arrived at after a discussion with the students in the class. These were announced and then the answer sheet were distributed in a random fashion Moreover, if desired, the quiz can be conducted online and evaluation can be done automatically and the results be made  available immediately after completion of the quiz.

Assigning a rank on a scale of -5 to 5 was discussed and finalized in the class for each of the 15 responses of Quiz-III. Once that was accepted, the students were asked to compute the sum of deviations $ \Delta=\sum_{k=1}^{15} |a_k-r_k|$ for answer sheet to be evaluated. The final score out of 15 was computed using  $\text{Final Marks} = 15 - \Delta/150$. For each bit $\Delta$ will range from 0, for the correct response, to 10 for maximum deviation from the correct response. It is easy to see that  this in turn implies a range of  0  ( all totally off) to 15 (all correct) for the final score.