Students Writing Questions

Decorative: Four smileys, each with a symbol over its head -- first smiley has a question mark over its head; the second, three cogs; the third, a light bulb; the fourth, an exclamation mark.

 

1. "Getting Answer-Oriented Students to Focus on the Questions" (online article) offers several strategies to cultivate higher-order thinking in students -- moving them from "memorizing answers" to "thinking about the questions" -- by "having students write exam questions."

Caveat: Do this only if you are "willing to devote some time to developing test writing skills."

  • "Given that many students are not particularly strong writers to begin with, they won’t write good test questions automatically."
  • "[I]f shown samples of questions that test knowledge at different levels, students can see the differences and begin to understand test questions better."
  • "The strategy also deepens understanding and makes student thinking more precise, especially if they write questions that classmates must try to answer."
  • "The approach also focuses study efforts by connecting questions and answers, something that doesn’t always occur when students are memorizing answers."
  • "If you work with students on writing good questions and are willing to do some editorial work on what they submit, some of their questions can show up on the exam .... a strategy that really motivates student interest in questions!"

2. Some tools to help students shape effective, higher-order questions: