(643b) Student-Created Assessment: Midterm Test of a Graduate Course, Mathematical Methods in Chemical Engineering

Authors: 
Long, Y., National University of Singapore
Students were divided into groups, each of which was asked to provide a question paper and suggested solutions like a course instructor, as their midterm assessment. The course, Mathematical Methods in Chemical Engineering, is a graduate core course, mainly covering analytical and numerical techniques for solving differential equations generated by modeling of chemical processes. The class size was normally between 30 and 50. Detailed guidelines and sample product created by the instructor or previous students were provided at the beginning of the semester.
 
The grading was based on: whether the questions in the product can assess student achievements of module learning objectives; whether a â??normalâ? student can complete the paper reasonably well within 4 hours; the clarity of the problem statements; the significance of the physical problems; the reasonability of modelling and the correctness of using techniques to solve; the creativity or critical discussion on the problem, modelling, and/or the solving the model. An oral presentation, highlighting their ideas, was given by each group, for sharing and grading fairness. A survey was conducted at least 6 months after this assessment to get student opinions on this experiment.
 
The product showed that most students achieved and knew how to assess the achievement of the module learning outcomes. Many creative questions and critical discussion on the questions came out, suggesting that students challenged their comfortable zone, and also learned through the assessment procedure. Studentsâ?? responses to the survey questions showed their interests and acceptance of such type of assessment. They also expressed that they liked this learning experience, and it was fairer than the conventional exam, because students can show their mastery of knowledge in their own way, without being afraid of misunderstanding the questions.

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