Monday, January 2, 2017

Math is hard.  Although so is putting on eyeliner - not that I've done a lot of that.

Hi.  Something not discussed in my various teacher trainings is normalizing the difficulty of an exam.  In teaching a course for the first time, I borrow another teacher's exams, and then I try to create mine that seem about equal in difficulty.  But how difficult is my exam, and is it the appropriate level of difficulty?  For a gen ed community college math course, I sort of think the very best student should get close to 100, and the class average ought to be about 75.  Of course this assumes students attend nearly every class, pay attention in class, take notes in class, do the assigned homework, etc.; assumptions that have not been exactly true in my classes.  Maybe this also assumes I am a decent teacher.  I have been curving my exams about 15 points to account for the fact that maybe my exams were too hard, and I was perhaps not the most effective teacher. Hopefully I will improve my exam creation with experience and curve less in the future.