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I am in an online analytics program. What you described in the first part about the open ended nature of answers absolutely rings true for my program and the intent of the educators for the students to learn outside the textbook.
Unfortunately, because of the online nature, we get much multiple choice and a lack of nuance. I would give a ton for a professor to evaluate and assign more than one "right" answer.

John McClenny

One thing I wish my Grad school instructors would do is to provide one sample test before the first test. It always seems to take me one test to figure out the testing style of the instructor and I end up having to crush that next series of tests to get the A.

I do like the irony of using a non 0-100 based scale in a stats class where people should be able to understand the distribution of the scores anyway :).


John: I do give out a practice exam before the exam. Interestingly, only about half the students study it, which prompted my advice column here.

Matty: It's nice that some students realize it takes a lot of time and effort to set open-ended questions, and to grade them (i.e. I have to read and understand your answers, rather than keyword matching). Instructors are not doing this probably because students show no appreciation for it.
Because questions are open-ended, I don't provide answer keys to my practice exams but offer to provide feedback to anyone who emails me before the exam. This practice has led a few students to grade me F.

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