If you’re using ExamSoft, then you’re probably already using categories in your exam creation and grading to provide students with more informative feedback. (If you’re not using ExamSoft yet, you’re missing out and we can help with that)
Category tagging proves a powerful tool for directing your students toward the subjects, competencies, and question types they need to focus their studies on the most, but that’s not the only benefit categories can provide. The categories you create and use in ExamSoft can be useful for helping to guide and improve your curriculum design.
When you’re working on your curriculum for the semester and planning the content of each class, you can use those categories in a few key ways.
Categories Can Improve Distribution
Are you giving way too much of your lecture time over to your favorite subject to the detriment of other topics your students need to learn? It’s an understandable mistake and one you can catch with the help of category tagging.
When you apply categories to your curriculum and assessments, you start to see what you’re giving the most attention to. Some categories deserve more time in class, either because they’re especially important or harder to grasp than others, but you want that extra focus and time to be intentional rather than accidental. By using categories, you’ll get a quick snapshot of the distribution of how much time you’re giving to each topic area so you can make sure you’re not giving anything short shrift.
Categories Make It Easier to Match Coursework to Assessments
Back when you were in school, do you remember taking an exam that included information that hadn’t been covered in the class or your homework assignments? You knew you did everything you were supposed to, and yet you still weren’t prepared.
You don’t want to make that mistake with your own students. Categories can help you ensure that the topic areas you cover on each assessment are the same ones you covered in the classes and assignments leading up to the assessment. On the chance a question or prompt that’s about something you haven’t covered yet slipped in, you can catch it early and tweak the test to make sure it’s only about what your students know already.
Categories Allow You to See What Subjects to Return To
Every teacher, no matter how amazing, will occasionally have a certain lesson or topic that students don’t fully comprehend on the first try. Assessments don’t just provide students with information on where they need to improve, they also give teachers a heads-up when something they covered in class wasn’t effectively absorbed by the majority of students.
If there are topic areas on an assessment that a majority of students had issues with, then you know you need to bring those topics up again during class time and work more assignments on those subjects into the curriculum.
Categories can be extremely useful for students, but they can do a lot for instructors too. The next time you’re working on your curriculum and class plans, try using the categories. You and your students will both benefit.