Thursday, January 20, 2011

That Was Scary

A student approached me after the Western Civilization quiz today, a little upset because she felt that the quiz relied on information contained in the assigned readings for next week--not this week.  I was briefly dismayed and chagrined, because I had two weeks notice to pull this class together, moving from quizzes, lectures, and a syllabus written around the previous Western Civ textbook to a new textbook--with a somewhat different organization.

I just spent the last half hour going through the quiz, and trying to find where the students could have expected to find the information.  Except for one question, every question had a slide from lectures (visible to the students throughout this week) or a set of pages in the assigned reading that directly answered the question.

One question asked the students to distinguish Egyptian and Mesopotamian beliefs in an afterlife.  The new textbook has a good discussion of Egyptian afterlife ideas but was silent about Mesopotamian afterlife beliefs (unlike the old textbook).  I'll take a look to see how many students gave the wrong answer on that question, but overall, I feel pretty good about the traceability of the quiz.  I may add citations to future quizzes so that students know where they should have been able to find this information--and just like good software has traceability from requirements all the way through final delivery to the customer, college tests should do so as well.


  1. Same thing happens to me each time the text changes.

    And I'm still annoyed at a brazenly false statement of a legal concept in the Copyright section of the latest Business Law text I'm saddled with.

  2. Trying to reacquaint myself in world history, are these good textbooks and what are their names?

  3. I think I am a bit happier with Jackson J. Spielvogel's Western Civilization, 7th ed. (the textbook we are no longer using) than with Lynn Hunt, Thomas R. Martin, Barbara H. Rosenwein, R. Po-chia Hsia, and Bonnie G. Smith's The Making of the West, 3rd ed. (the textbook that insists on using BCE/CE instead of BC/AD).

  4. I just checked Amazon, the study guides are more expensive than class hourly charges in the Cretaceous? when I last attended college.

  5. Trying to reacquaint myself in world history, are these good textbooks and what are their names?