1425 Biomedical Physical Sciences Building
About the Session:
is almost universally agreed that more frequent formative assessment (homework,
clicker questions, practice tests, etc.) leads to better student performance
and generally better course evaluations. There is, however, only anecdotal
evidence that the same would be true for more frequent summative assessment
(exams). There may be many arguments against giving more exams, including the
general “pain” associated with examinations, as well as reduced teaching time,
since classroom sessions are dedicated to exams rather than lecturing. We
present evidence that increasing the number of exams in fact does lead to
better learning success, less cheating and guessing on homework, and better
student course evaluations. You can find these results published in the
following article: "Want to Reduce Guessing and Cheating While Making
Students Happier? Give More Exams!", James T. Laverty, Wolfgang Bauer,
Gerd Kortemeyer, and Gary Westfall, Phys. Teach. 50, 540 (2012).
About Gary Westfall:
GaryWestfall is a University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Physics and
Astronomy at Michigan State University. He conducts research at the
Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory and at the
National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at Michigan State University.
Prof. Westfall is particularly interested in the introductory physics
curriculum for engineering and science majors. In collaboration
MSU colleagues Wolfgang Bauer and Walter Benenson, he has authored multimedia physics CDs for their students
at MSU's Lyman Briggs College, and co-authored a textbook on CD-ROM, called
cliXX Physik. In collaboration with these colleagues, he was instrumental in
creating the Learning Online Network with CAPA (LON-CAPA).
Since 2008, Bauer and Westfall have been part of a team of instructors,
engineers, and physicists, who investigate the use of peer-assisted learning in
the introductory physics curriculum. This project has received funding from the
NSF STEM Talent Expansion Program, and its best practices have been
incorporated into their textbook University Physics, which was published in
2010 by McGraw-Hill and is now in its second edition (January, 2013).