Thursday, February 24, 2011
Assessment - Practical Exams
The first practical exam I ever experienced was in a college anatomy course, and I failed miserably. I did not know how to prepare, nor did I know what to expect as far as the type of information I would be required to be responsible for in the exam. I made the mistake of thinking that every skull, femur and foot looked exactly the same. I did not understand the importance of repetition nor did I understand that the images in the books were not exactly like the bones we were studying.
Like hitting a curve ball in baseball, you can't learn to hit one by reading a book or watching someone else do it. You have to experience it, see the release, read the spin and swing the bat.
It is our job as educators to provide students with as many of the possible types of assessment as we can within our classrooms. Preparing for and taking a practical exam is a very different experience from a standard pen and paper exam.
Every semester my anatomy students take two skeletal practical exams. The first exam focuses on the bones of the axial skeleton and the second includes the bones of the appendicular skeleton. Students are responsible to learn the bone names, anatomical structures and whether the bone is a left or right. There is no word bank provided and spelling counts.