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Test Question Templates

For many years, I struggled with a common teaching dilemma: how can I help my undergraduate students develop transferrable knowledge and skills in biology courses dominated by traditional high-stakes tests?

In 2019, with the help of colleagues Ben Wiggins (University of Washington) and Kiki Jenkins (Arizona State University), I had a breakthrough idea -- a framework that would help my students prepare for interesting, complex test questions without giving away the exact questions or answers.

We call the framework Test Question Templates, or TQTs for short.

Since TQTs emphasize (A) abundant opportunities for collaborative student practice and (B) transparent alignment of practice and testing, they may be considered a cousin of TILT, mastery grading, Deb Donovan's Learning Targets and Success Criteria, and Ben Wiggins' public exams (blog post; webinar).

Our first peer-reviewed paper on TQTs is this:

That paper's appendix, which listed my TQTs as of March 2020, is now out of date. I am sharing my current TQTs for introductory (sophomore-level) human anatomy and physiology in a publicly accessible TQT folder (Google Drive).

Several small TQT-related projects are now underway or are being planned:

  • Do Undergraduate Biology Lessons Explicitly Teach Knowledge Transfer? (with Kiki Jenkins and Dilan Evans, Arizona State University)
  • Afflictions, Animal Athletes, and Aliens: Identifying Optimal Applications for A&P Activities and Assessments (with Bud Lindstedt, Northern Arizona University, emeritus)
  • From Isolated Data-Analysis Tasks to General Skills: Bridging the Gap with Question Templates (with ADInstruments)
  • A Taxonomy of Anatomical Reasoning (with Krista Rompolski, Moravian College, and Melissa Quinn, Ohio State University)
  • TQTs Beyond A&P: Are Question Templates Useful for Other Biology and Science Courses? (volunteers welcome!)

Here are some additional TQT-related resources:

I welcome comments, questions, and comments-masquerading-as-questions! Feel free to email me at gcrowther AT everettcc DOT com.


Dr. C sipping some TQ Tea.