Date: Wed, 8 Jun 2005 09:35:01 -0700
Reply-To: Sheila Kennedy <smk**At_Symbol_Here**CHEM.UCSD.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Sheila Kennedy <smk**At_Symbol_Here**CHEM.UCSD.EDU>
Subject: questions for safety exam
Comments: To: LABSAFETY-L Discussion List

Thank you to all who have sent me ideas and suggestions - please don't
stop if you have something useful!

To those who suggest that a short-answer exam is the solution to my
problem: I agree, but circumstances don't allow time to score it this
summer. I normally give a 25-question multi-choice exam to ~1000 student
each quarter (3 lab classes - up to 458 sections of 16 - 24 students).
This is, of course, scored mechanically. Those who fail to score 75% on
that exam either drop the course or are permitted to take a makeup exam
(passing score 85%) to retain their place in class.

The makeup exam is the one I'm converting from short-answer to
multi-choice. (I'm going to be out of town & must hand off
administration & scoring to others this Summer.) Since we use this exam
to actually drop people from the class, issues of fairness and relevance
are huge.

I think my short-answer/list-the-steps-you-would-take/multi-choice
combination exam does a pretty good job of culling the "know something &
learning fast" lab student from those who can't/won't take a safety exam
seriously enough to study for it (none of this is all that hard!). It
also gives me an occasional window into the thought processes of those
who don't get it & a chance to suggest that some just don't speak
English on a level necessary to follow lab instructions.

For those who are curious - we generally drop anywhere from 10 to 15
students each quarter through the year, in addition to those who drop
themselves when they fail the first exam.

Sheila M. Kennedy, CHO
Safety Coordinator, Undergraduate Teaching Laboratories
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Dr.
La Jolla, CA  92093-0303
(858) 534-0221

If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.

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