2007 Teaching and Learning Symposium

2:30-4:30 p.m., April 24, 2007
HUB West Ballroom

Session Description


Using small group test retakes to foster collaboration and enhance learning

Constance Hirnle (Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems) and Karen Thomas (Parent and Child Nursing)


NURS 401, Care of Illness, is a large lecture class that is a requirement for all undergraduate nursing majors. We evaluate student progress with objective, multiple choice tests that are similar to the NCLEX licensing exam that our graduates must pass to become registered nurses. During the class period following each of the unit exams, the students break into small pre-assigned mini groups to retake the same test. The group is given 15 minutes to collaborate together to re-answer the 40 multiple choice test questions. Individuals can earn up to 3% points depending on the score they received on the group re-take. Between the test and the group retake much study and discussion between students occurs to debate the best answer to challenging questions that were on the exam. Positives of the mini group tests re-take include: learning from classmates, understanding the content rather than just focusing on the grade, reducing absences from exams since you need to take the scheduled exam to qualify for the retake, decreasing test anxiety since you can improve your grade slightly on the retake. As a teacher I have seen arguing over unfair questions almost eliminated using this method, since classmates provide insight into rationale for the correct answer. The students love it, as demonstrated by anonymous feedback we received on Jan 24, 2007 stating “Your double test style is the best testing format I have ever experienced! It should be standard practice for all teachers.”



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