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Teaching and learning tricky topics
Teaching and learning tricky topics

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2.1 Creating a question

This section will now support you in turning all the detailed information you have collected (about your students/friends/family/colleagues, their problems in your tricky topic and the possible causes of these problems) into quiz questions. The following steps will help you to create quiz questions based upon tricky topics. It is suggested that you start with simple multiple choice questions before moving onto more complex question types.

There are six steps in creating a tricky question:

Table 1 steps in creating a tricky question
1 Review tricky topic and choose stumbling blocks.The first step when creating a tricky topic question is to review your tricky topics and decide on which stumbling block(s) you are going to focus on for your quiz question. The use of one or several stumbling blocks should be based upon looking through the problem examples and how they link through to one or many stumbling blocks.
2 Label your question.Label the question with the appropriate stumbling blocks or multiple stumbling blocks. At this stage, you should also consider how many marks each question is worth. For example, questions addressing 2 or 3 stumbling marks may have a greater mark weighting to those addressing one stumbling block.
3 Identify mistakes.Review the list identified (Week 1, Activity 1) from the problem distiller linked to the problem examples and stumbling blocks (see Figure 3). This should give you an understanding of what mistakes students make and why they make them.
4 Write question to trigger mistake.Write a question that could lead your student to a response which matches the problem examples you have identified.
5 Write responses that are identified mistakes.Provide questions responses (i.e. the answers) that fit with the problem examples you have identified. Make sure that there are multiple responses to the question that cover the mistakes that students commonly make.
6 Review questions & answers.Review the problem distiller reasons to help guide the question responses (i.e. the answers) you created in Step 5. For example, if the mistakes are based upon problems with language misunderstanding try to create responses that would trigger these mistakes. Try to include all relevant problem distiller items.

Make sure when creating your whole quiz to:

  • Ensure that single stumbling block questions are easier to answer than multiple stumbling block questions and the weighting of marks should reflect this.
  • You create sufficient questions that cover each stumbling block to ensure that you have effectively checked that students have a deep understanding of that stumbling block.
  • Ensure there is a balance of both single stumbling block questions and multiple stumbling block questions since this will balance out the complexity of the quiz. There may also be several questions that cover one problem example depending on the complexity of the problem example. It is important to note that creating questions is not a one to one mapping, i.e. there is not one question per stumbling block or problem example.