Home The Student's Favorite Class Activity: The RAT!!!

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RATs Using a Pyramid Testing Format

Each semester my students consistently rate the "Readiness Assurance Tests" as their number one favorite student-centered activity. This is a practice exam given during the class prior to the actual exam. They love it because it is an effective, fun, and challenging learning experience that is directly related to getting them ready for the exam. We use a "pyramid" format as described in the following video. Briefly, the student takes the SAME exam three times in a single class period. First as an individual, second as part of a team, third as part of the whole class. By the end of class, each student knows his or her score and what topics he or she needs to study to perform better on the actual exam, which is given using the same pyramid format.

For a two hour long class period, 25 multiple choice questions work well. For a one hour class period, the exam should be between 10 and 15 questions. Because of the nature of this format, you are able to include some of your more challenging questions, but don't keep that a secret from your students who will tend to focus only on how well they did for the individual phase. Be sure to let your students know that their ability to work with others counts as a valuable asset, especially after they graduate and start their careers. Emphasize that a student's score using this format includes ALL THREE PHASES.

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