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4:06pm on Wednesday, 29th December, 2010:

Easy Easy Easy Murder


I set my CE317 exam today — no mean feat, given that I haven't written the lectures yet.

Ideally, I would have used the format I've used for pretty well all the exams I've ever written, but I ran into problems with that when I set CE217. In the end, I got special permission to have a section A worth 40% (made up of 6 questions worth 10% each, of which the candidates do 4) and a section B worth 60% (made up of 3 questions worth 30% each, of which the candidates do 2). However, I can't do that this time because they didn't change the standard rubric and I don't have special permission.

I have another problem, too, in that I'm required to ensure that all the module's learning outcomes are tested. Learning outcomes are vague, hand-waving statements pulled from thin air at a time when you have no idea what the content of your module will be, the aim of which is to describe accurately and succinctly the content of your module. I have four learning outcomes for CE317 (having successfully removed the one that would have meant teaching the use of Metaplace, which is defunct); three of these four are tested in assignments, but the other isn't: I have to test it in the examination. Unfortunately, if I give the candidates any choice, they can choose to avoid doing the question on that subject; I therefore either have to make it compulsory or (as I did in CE217) cunningly spread it across several questions so that avoiding it was impossible.

Well, this time round I couldn't spread it, so I just had to make it compulsory. Looking at the available standard rubrics, the only way to do that is to make all the questions compulsory.

So it is that this year, my CE317 exam will consist of 5 questions, all compulsory and worth 20% each. They're split into sub-questions, though, so I can discriminate between the weaker and stronger candidates. I'm basically using what I call an EEEM model ("easy easy easy murder"), in which the first parts are relatively simple if you're either smart, have read the lecture slides, or, occasionally, are smart and have read the lecture slides. The (usually) final part is, however, murder.

I'll find out just how easy/murder they are tomorrow, when I have to write the model answers...

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Copyright © 2010 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).