Preparing Effective Essay Questions: A Self-directed Workbook for Educators

Key Information

Preparing Effective Essay Questions: A Self-directed Workbook for Educators, By Christian M. Reiner, Timothy W. Bothell, & Richard R. Sudweeks

2003 [ISBN: 1-58107-065-9; 50 pages soft cover; 8 ½ x 11 inch] $13.95


PEEQA Self-directed Workbook for Educators — Do you want to improve the use of essay questions but have little time to review existing research? Or, are you concerned about using essay questions to obtain useful information about student learning? If so, this workbook series is for you! Although essay questions are one of the most commonly used methods for assessing student learning, they are sometimes misunderstood and ineffectively used. Writing effective essay questions requires training and practice.

There is much to learn to effectively design and use essay questions. Preparing Effective Essay Questions is the first of a new workbook series, “Improving the Use of Essay Questions in Education.” Other titles in the series include Preparing Students to Take Essay Questions, and Scoring Essay Questions. This series of small self-guided workbooks provides a review of the essentials for effectively using essay questions. Each workbook will help you immediately apply key principles of good practice for using essay questions in your own work.

This workbook series was developed to provide self-guided training and practice in discerning the often difficult-to-see characteristics of effective essay questions and to support educators in the development and use of essay questions.

The format of each workbook is suitable for use with seminars or work groups and can be facilitated by an instructor. However, the workbooks are primarily designed to be studied alone and are effective in self-directed learning. Sections contain assessments, practice exercises and review activities to foster understanding and improvement in writing and using effective essay questions. Exercises include sample answers for users to check their progress and understanding.

The Contents

>Workbook Objectives
Section 1: What is an Essay Question?
>Common Misconceptions
Section 2: When Should Essay Questions be Used?
Section 3: How Should Essay Questions be Constructed?
Checklist for Reviewing Essay Questions

Appendix A – Answers to Review Exercises
Appendix B – Directive Verb Definitions and Examples

The Authors

Christian Reiner currently works as Assessment & Evaluation Specialist at the Center for Instructional Excellence (CIE) at Purdue in West Lafayette, Indiana. He is involved in the assessment and evaluation of teaching and learning in various ways including research, teaching workshops, giving presentations, developing and implementing assessment and evaluation tools, and consulting faculty on an individual basis.

Timothy W. Bothell is the Faculty Development Coordinator for the Assessment of Student Learning at Brigham Young University. He currently conducts workshops and works with faculty one-on-one to improve the assessment of student learning. He also directs the Exam Improvement Center within Brigham Young University’s Faculty Center. Faculty from all colleges and departments can leave their exams at the Exam Improvement Center for feedback and suggestions.  In addition, as an independent consultant, he consults organizations concerning the return on investment of learning.

Richard R. Sudweeks is an associate professor in the Department of Instructional Psychology and Technology at Brigham Young University where he teaches courses in educational assessment and psychometrics. He specializes in assessing cognitive, behavioral, and affective outcomes of instruction. He obtained his PhD in educational psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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