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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That paper's appendix, which listed my TQTs as of March 2020, is now out of date.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 in various stages:

  • How do Kidneys Make Urine from Blood? Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches to Filtration, Secretion, Reabsorption, and Excretion (article in press at CourseSource)
  • Do Undergraduate Biology Lessons Teach Knowledge Transfer? (with Kiki Jenkins and Dilan Evans, Arizona State University; ongoing research)
  • Using TQTs to Unpack the Core Concepts of Physiology (with Joel Michael, Rush Medical College, emeritus; ongoing research)
  • A Taxonomy of Anatomical Reasoning (with Krista Rompolski, Moravian College, and Melissa Quinn, Ohio State University; ongoing research)
  • 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.