Constructing short essays

What your audience should expect.

Constructing short essays

They are a wonderful way to test higher-level learning, but they require careful construction to maximize their assessment effectiveness. Strengths Associated with Essay Examinations Among the strengths of essay examinations, faculty who use them find they are a valuable means to measure higher-order learning and a wonderful way, when scored properly, to further student learning.

Given these strengths, essay tests require careful preparation and scoring. By nature, they require longer time for students to think, organize and compose their answers.

The action verbs under each domain illustrate the kinds of activities that a test item might assess. Use the verbs when constructing your essay questions so that students know what you expect as they write. While essay questions can assess all the cognitive domains, most educators suggest that due to the time required to answer them, essay questions should not be used if the same material can be assessed through a multiple-choice or objective item.

Reserve your use of essay questions for testing higher-level learning that requires students to synthesize or evaluate information. Holistic Scoring The holistic approach involves the teacher reading all the responses to a given essay question and assigning a grade based on the overall quality of the response.

Holistic scoring works best for essay questions that are open-ended and can produce a variety of acceptable answers. Analytic Scoring Analytic scoring involves reading the essays for the essential parts of an ideal answer.

In this case, you will need to make a list of the major elements that students should include in an answer. Your comments will help students write better essays for future classes and reinforce what students know and need to learn. Your comments are also a good reminder for yourself if students come to you with questions about their grades.


Instructors should build limits into questions in order to save needless writing due to vague questions: This can happen when the essay question is vague or open to numerous interpretations. Another good way to prevent students from spending excessive time on essays is to give them testing instructions on how long they should spend on test items.

McKeachie gives the following advice: Remember that essays require more time to score While essay exams are quicker to prepare than multiple-choice exams, essay exams take much longer to score.

Constructing short essays

You should plan sufficient time for scoring the essays to prevent finding yourself crunched to report final grades. Avoid scoring prejudices Essay exams are subject to scoring prejudices. The reverse is also true.

To prevent this scoring prejudice, educators suggest reading all the answers to a single essay question at one time.

A life in writing: Preparing effective essay questions.Database of FREE Construction essays - We have thousands of free essays across a wide range of subject areas. Sample Construction essays! Short Answer & Essay Tests Strategies, Ideas, and Recommendations from the faculty Development Literature.

General Strategies. Do not use essay questions to evaluate understanding that could be tested with multiple-choice questions.

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Constructing short essays

Plus, get practice tests, quizzes, and personalized coaching to help you succeed. PREPARING EFFECTIVE ESSAY QUESTIONS A Self-directed Workbook for Educators by Christian M. Reiner How should essay questions be constructed?

Choosing a Topic

In short, essay items are used for the advantages they offer. Despite the advantages associated with essay questions, there are also disadvantages. Have you ever labored over the . CONSTRUCTING and SCORING ESSAY TESTS* An essay test permits direct assessment of the attainment of numerous goals and objectives.

An essay test demands less construction time per fixed unit of student time but a significant increase in labor in time and scoring.

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