In order to make your questions stronger and more relatable to your students when creating content for Formative and Summative assessments you may consider using scenario-driven questions or ‘Memory Aids’. This method brings context to your questions and gives a basis for memory recall.
What to remember when writing ‘Memory Aid’ Questions:
- Try not to let the scenario become too complex and lead the student off the main basis of the question
- Make sure all the information is required whilst applying relatable information to add additional meaning
- Remember to keep the vocabulary consistent with the student’s level of understanding and use examples from course materials when developing the questions.
Question without a memory aid: What is a quarter of 80?
Question with a memory aid: Charles went to the shop to buy some sweets. He had 80 pence to buy sweets with. He chose his sweets and went to the till. The sweets came to the total of 20 pence. Which fraction accurately represents how much money Charles spent on sweets?
Scenario – Stem Questions
Using Memory Aids are also an effective way of testing higher level learning outcomes, as additional information is often required when you create a Memory Aid for a question intended to test learning outcomes such as Analysis or Evaluation. The clearest way to structure a multiple choice question for this purpose is to present a situation which clearly highlights the problem or idea before continuing onto the actual question text and then create the stem of the question which offers the action the student needs to take.
Charlie has been working on the activity of gorillas and their young. He is assessing the psychology of how their young react when danger is approaching. He has been working in several gorilla enclosures and after viewing the gorillas’ activity he noted that when presented with danger, the younger gorillas retreat and rely on their parents to protect them. Charlie has now presented the hypothesis that, ‘when they are over two years of age, they assume a more dominant role and begin to present themselves as the threat to ward off danger.’
Charlie is looking to test his hypothesis. Which step would be the most effective to test Charlie’s hypothesis?