Writing Good Multiple Choice Test Questions | Center for Teaching | Vanderbilt University

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Vanderbilt University

Heather MacCorkle Edick‘s insight:

What a comprehensive look at writing good multiple choice test questions.  Thanks, Vanderbilt!

See on cft.vanderbilt.edu

How can we improve education? @joannelipman says we need to go old-school

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Joanne Lipman writes that today’s educators are too soft. It is time to go back to the discipline of the past.

Heather MacCorkle Edick‘s insight:

Well, what do you think?  I do remember that my favorite teachers were also the ones that challenged us the most and refused to allow us to be intellectually ‘mushy.’  We were expected to work hard and, when we failed, to work hard again.  Are we doing our kids a disservice these days by creating environments in which failure is almost NOT an option?  You decide.

See on online.wsj.com

Flip PDF: Try It Today!

I’m trying out Flip PDF and I really like it.

[flipbook id=”1″]

All you have to do is create a regular PDF file, import it into the application, apply a template (if you want), then publish it.  Publishing options include a plugin for WordPress, Joomla and Drupal, which is what I used for the book embedded above.  One can also publish to html, upload to a server, email to a friend, or use as a screen saver.

I believe the flip book could really engage learners of all ages, but especially our younger learners who will like the page turning effects!

Try it for yourself.  You can download a functional trial here, just like I did: http://flipbuilder.com/flip-pdf/.

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4 Powerful Sites That Will Improve Your Teaching – Edudemic

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Struggling to improve your teaching skills? These websites are absolutely fabulous and useful for modern teachers of any skill level.

See on www.edudemic.com

The Moon Is Down, Day Three


As students enter the classroom on Day Three, they would find a discussion prompt on the whiteboard:

What were you thinking yesterday while we read?  Be honest and share it with your neighbor.

After five minutes, I would open the floor so students could share their discussion.  In my classroom, I would like to encourage students to be honest and forthright about their thoughts and develop metacognitive strategies that, in the end, will tell them much about their learning styles, interests, and thought processes.  Therefore, I think this discussion question would be a good one.  I would allow for about 10 minutes of group talk.

I suspect we would hear answers such as:

  • I was bored and thinking about the party this weekend.
  • I was thinking that these characters are flat (or stupid, in for a lot of trouble soon, sad, etc.)
  • I was wondering what was going to happen next and feeling bad for the characters.
  • I could not follow what was happening and ended up zoning out.
  • I thought Steinbeck did a good job integrating character description with the story.
  • I could see certain characters, but not others.

After the discussion, in which we could offer one another advice or try to address any challenges, we would again read for about fifteen minutes and try to come up with questions.  I’ll live blog my questions after I finish reading like I did last time.

Finally, they would have homework, which would include reading to a certain page in the book on their own and generating two questions to discuss the next day.


At least | that’s what | he said | later | on shore
While I | washed my | feet of | gritty | wet sand.
My thoughts | swimming | back to | moments | before
When I | panicked,| not see | ing him | from land.

Yes, that will do nicely!


I watched | a buo| y with | gray hair | floating
In the | ocean,| no wor|ry in | his mind.
To God,| he di|rected | his face | gloating,
“A more | perfect | life you’ll | struggle | to find.”

I like that rewrite!

At least | that’s what | he said | later | that day

While I | washed my | feet of | gritty | wet sand.



First, I have to say that this is really hard.  🙂

In the ocean, on his back he floated,
No worry in his mind, nor in his heart.
To God, he lifted his face and gloated,
“My life is perfect. We’ll never part.”

I like the first quatrain. Well, I should say that I like it enough to not change it yet.

On the beach, his children played in sand,
Castles they made, and buried mother’s feet.
She let them, scrunched her toes, feeling safe on land,
Comfortable in her beach seat.

Oh, that’s terrible. I just really like the bit about burying mother’s toes.

Mother heard a frightened, “Where is he?”
Her eyes opened wide.  Was he lost?
Kids laughed as he came from the sea,

As I sit here, with my pen, I wonder
Will I write well?  Will these words drag me under?


In the ocean, on his back he floated,
No worry in his mind, nor in his heart.
To God, he lifted his face and gloated,
“My life is perfect. We’ll never part.”

On the beach, his family played with sand,
Castles they made, and buried mother’s feet
She laughed, wiggled her toes, …

Then she saw her husband had disappeared…

As I sit here, with my pen, I wonder
Will I write well?  Will these words drag me under?


Great Feedback
What a wonderful gift I received today when I checked in on my professional development courses.


More on Consideration Number One

I simply found it fascinating that an educator would say that SBG and CBE do not reflect the real world.  I understand why the person said it.  If you don’t meet the goals set in the workplace, there are consequences.  If you don’t do the work you’re supposed to do, there are consequences.  As I said above, however, adults set these deadlines while collaborating on a project or task, and the goals are continuously revisited for validity.  The manager does not set a goal in a grade book and give you a zero if you don’t meet the goal.  Yes, you have to explain yourself if you don’t meet the goal, but if you can explain yourself well, the penalties are often slight or not imposed at all.

Which brings me to my next point: Communication feeds the heart and soul of any human organization, project-based or not.  [pullquote]Communication feeds the heart and soul of any human organization, project-based or not.[/pullquote]In this reformed version of grading, students and teachers work on communication and collaboration skills, two very important skills to have as one enters the workforce.  If done right, I believe the students will learn to acknowledge that goals and deadlines are important, but more importantly, they will learn to communicate with their teacher when they are struggling to meet them or believe the assignments are not going to help them achieve their goals.  I think that educators are misunderstanding a fundamental part of this learning process when they allow students to miss deadlines or not complete assignments at all.  That’s a misconception about the process that absolutely must be addressed.  Students are missing vital learning opportunities when they do not attempt an assignment simply because they know they will not be penalized.  When students and educators agree that the assignments are learning opportunities and that they should communicate about its effectiveness and collaborate to make changes if necessary, that is when true learning takes place.  That reflects what happens in the real world. 

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