I love TQTs!










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 high-stakes tests that traditionally reward memorization?

In 2019, with the help of Ben Wiggins (University of Washington) and Kiki Jenkins (Arizona State University), I had a breakthrough idea -- a framework that helps students prepare for interesting, complex test questions, while also making it easier for instructors to write such questions! I call the framework Test Question Templates (TQTs).

Fundamentally, a TQT is a student-facing resource that explicitly connects a Learning Objective (LO) with multiple specific examples of how that LO might be assessed on a test. TQTs thus show students what they will need to do on tests, and how to practice, without revealing the details of the tests. From the instructor side, TQTs' pre-specification of test question formats means that test-writing becomes more straightforward; with the freedom to vary certain details within a structured template, we can generate new questions each term with relative ease.

Beyond making tests less stressful and more rewarding for students and instructors, TQTs should generally promote studentsí transfer of knowledge to new contexts by encouraging practice on multiple examples with different surface features (Kaminske et al. 2020).

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; CourseSource paper).

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

Papers (published or in preparation)

New/Ongoing Projects
  • Do Learning Targets and Success Criteria alter students' perceptions of biology courses?

  • A Taxonomy of Problem-Solving in Anatomy

  • Using TQTs (and More) to Promote Active Learning in Undergraduate Exercise Science and Physiology Courses

  • Using TQTs to Unpack the Core Concepts of Physiology

  • TQTs and You and Me?
    • Do you have an idea for a TQT-related project? Please get in touch with me (gcrowther AT everettcc DOT com)!

Other TQT Resources

Financial Support

In developing TQTs, I am grateful for pilot funding from several wonderful sources:

Dr. C sipping some TQTea.