Writing Effective Questions - The Learning Manager
The example of Charles Champlin’s experience at Harvard where his teachers gave a statement and then simply said, ‘Discuss,’ shows a danger in using essay questions. Instructors should build limits into questions in order to save needless writing due to vague questions: “With some essay questions, students can feel like they have an infinite supply of lead to write a response on an indefinite number of pages about whatever they feel happy to write about. This can happen when the essay question is vague or open to numerous interpretations. Remember that effective essay questions provide students with an indication of the types of thinking and content to use in responding to the essay question” (Reiner, 2002).
example, essay questions require learners to use their
A Self-directed Workbook for Educators — Do you want to improve the use of essay questions but have little time to review existing research? Or, are you concerned about using essay questions to obtain useful information about student learning? If so, this workbook series is for you! Although essay questions are one of the most commonly used methods for assessing student learning, they are sometimes misunderstood and ineffectively used. Writing effective essay questions requires training and practice.
Preparing Effective Essay Questions: A Self-directed Workbook for Educators, By Christian M. Reiner, Timothy W. Bothell, & Richard R. Sudweeks