There are advantages and disadvantages to any assessment system used in a large enrollment chemistry course. The instructors want a fair and objective evaluation of what every student knows. Paper exams using a single format, like multiple choice, limit how a student expresses their knowledge; paper exams with free-response answers are challenging to grade consistently and equitably. Online exams provide us with the opportunity to use a variety of formats and include images and other tools. Students want to believe that the current examination tools (i.e., WebAssign) are evil. Examination questions are written by teams of instructors each semester. They spend a considerable amount of time devising and implementing the questions, editing them, and then discussing their effectiveness. These questions are not identical to ones on progress checks or the homework. However, they test the same ideas. The strategy of memorizing old questions is not very effective, contrary to what people, who have collections of old questions to give out or to sell, tell you. It is more efficient and effective to understand the material than to memorize.
Department of Chemistry