14 question, 2-3question from one week reading,
About Your Process: Writing Midterm Quiz Questions
We’ll have a midterm quiz in Week 8, so your questions are due at the end of this week. The midterm quiz will consist of 20 multiple-choice questions, written by you.
What?! Written by ME?! Yes, written by you. Here’s what-all I’m thinking with that:
- On the surface of it all, of course, is that if you can write a quiz, you can do well on a quiz. It helps you think like the quiz writer. For those of you who will be taking the GRE, LSAT or GMAT exams, being able to think like the test writers is the key to knocking those out of the park.
- Even if you won’t be taking those exams, in order to conduct good assessments, you have to know what questions to ask: threat assessments, risk assessments, assessing junior colleagues’ training and readiness, even software and network testing… it’s all going to be really important. Writing quiz questions is just that: creating an assessment. It’s good practice.
- Some of you are going to be teaching the skills you’re learning now to other people–and maybe sooner than you think. Did they get it? Being able to ask really succinct questions that get to the heart of whether or not they did get it is key, before you unleash them on unsuspecting networks.
- In these days of online higher learning, you may get contract or sidework writing course content or assessments for cybersecurity, because it is so very in-demand. It’ll go at lot easier and faster if you’ve already taken a swing at it.
- Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I firmly believe that assessing the materials you’ve read, determining what is important about them for yourself, and writing up what you think are the incisive questions about it, is a much better method of absorption than typical studying for a quiz, just reading and re-reading. The important stuff sticks better this way.
OK, so how do you go about writing quiz questions? Flip through / review the readings from weeks 2-8. Even though we haven’t technically been through weeks 7 and 8 yet, you should be able to skim through those and identify pretty quickly what’s important about those readings, too–and you only need one question for each week’s readings. Wait, what were those readings again? They’re all listed in the Syllabus, under “Schedule of Activities.”
So you’ll flip through the readings–and just the readings (not the lectures or guest lectures or discussions or anything), and note what you think the most important takeaways are for each of the readings. Maybe it’s a short reading, and there’s really just one important takeaway; maybe it’s a full chapter and there are 2-3 or so (It’s OK if your skimming through weeks 7 & 8 only turns up one important takeaway each–that’s all you need). No need to consider questions about the obscure stuff buried in there, either–people don’t remember that so easily, and would likely look them up anyway. This step has the added benefit of helping you study for your classmates’ questions, too.
These are all restated in the assignment, but just to explain them fully:
For each week’s readings, select one important takeaway (for the whole week’s readings) and write 1 question about it, for a total of 7 questions–with accompanying correct answers, of course–INCLUDING PAGE NUMBERS FOR THE ANSWERS. Questions should be multiple-choice, with 4 possible answers: 1 clearly indicated correct answer, and 3 plausible “distractors.” Questions should be relatively easy to answer if you’ve done the reading, and relatively difficult if you haven’t.
Additionally, each question should have one, and only one, correct answer. Do not use “All of the above,” “None of the above,” or multiple answers, such as “Both A and B.” Additionally, although I am not expressly forbidding it, I recommend against using “not” or “except” in the question, because people often miss what you’re getting at and get the question wrong. If you must state a question negatively, please only do so when it is absolutely necessary (which is not very often).
As always, the rubric is attached to the assignment and the criteria are clearly enumerated in the assignment, but you’ll be evaluated on whether you submitted 7 questions (1 from each week’s readings, weeks 2-8), you met the above criteria for the questions (4 possible answers and what-not), the questions are well formatted and without errors, and the answers to the questions are clear and accurate, with page numbers of where they appear in the reading.
In summary, you’ll submit:
- 14 questions: two from each week’s readings, weeks 2-8 (inclusively), with correct answers and their page numbers.
- Questions should be relatively easy to answer if you’ve done the reading, and relatively difficult if you haven’t.
- Questions should be multiple-choice with 4 possible answers: 1 correct answer and 3 “distractors.”
- Distractors must be plausible.
- Each question should have one, and only one, correct answer. Do not use “All of the above,” “None of the above,” or multiple answers, such as “Both A and B.”
- Avoid using negative phrasing, such as “NOT” or “except” in the question.
- Obviously, DO NOT use ANY of Easttom’s end-of-chapter assessment questions,
- Answers must be correct, clearly indicated, and include the page number(s) where the answer can be found.
Here are a couple of resources for you, just if you do want them:
https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/writing-good-multiple-choice-test-questions/ (Links to an external site.)
https://www.adinstruments.com/blog/tips-educators-how-write-multiple-choice-questions (Links to an external site.)
Finally, and I hope this goes without saying: DO NOT use Easttom’s questions from his end-of-chapter assessments. Passing off his work as your own is plagiarism: it’s academically dishonest, it’s cheating, and frankly, it’s an insult to both your intelligence and mine. There are always other ways to ask questions about the same reading. If any of your questions resemble any of Easttom’s questions, you will receive a 0 for the assignment, and I am required to report your feeble attempt at academic dishonesty in accordance with procedures laid out in the Student Code of Conduct.