We are nearing the halfway point of the quarter. Midterms are looming large. I had promised my Abstract Algebra II class that we would come to consensus on the format of the midterm. They were given several options:
- In class. Straightforward computations and proofs administered remotely but during class time with no advance warning of problems.
- Take-home. More challenging proofs or explorations given as a take-home over the weekend with collaboration allowed amongst classmates. However everyone’s submissions must be written entirely in their own words.
- Oral assessment. Problems given a week in advance. Collaboration is encouraged as they study and prepare. Each will have a 30 minute individual interview where they answer randomly selected problems.
To my delight and surprise, one of the students who experienced oral assessments in a previous class with me gave an impassioned plea on how this format really reduced their stress and anxiety. The result? I’m scrambling to create the problems for an oral assessment tonight because they need to be distributed tomorrow. So back to work!