The Iowa Geoscience Education Information Network

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Pyramid Testing

Can testing to contribute to the learning experience?  Is it possible to make a test meaningful, maybe even fun?  It appears that Pyramid testing began at Smith College in the Mathematics Department.  This method is also being altered and tested at the University of Massachusetts (Yuretich et al.), UNI, and elsewhere. 

Basic goals –
1. Facilitate comprehensive or higher-order reasoning
2. Design a test for students that
A.  Confirms their understanding of a unit’s core concepts
B.  Challenges them to apply the core concepts

Methods – (2 steps)

1.  Construct a great test (Multiple choice, T/F, short answer…) and have the students take it
2.  Options
A. Have the students take the exam again, but in small groups, with a few different     questions… OR
B. Have the students form small groups (max. 4 people) and work on a comprehensive ‘story      problem’ that    
-  Links multiple unit concepts together in an applied problem
-  Uses something (topic, place, etc.) that the students are familiar with

Iowa specific examples coming soon!