Ten-Minute Tests

I have had some success with a system of "ten-minute tests". This involves a short test (eight multiple-choice questions) at the beginning of every lecture except the first. The advantages are

  • the lectures are 40 minutes long instead of 50;
  • the students arrive on time;
  • the students read their notes between lectures.

    Because the students do the tests in their ordinary places, close to their friends, and because it is easy to see where one's neighbours are writing on their papers, I have always used personalized tests; this has the further advantages that

  • I learn their names from handing the papers out;
  • questions previously answered incorrectly can be repeated.

    In order to produce the personalized test papers, I have written a Fortran (sorry!) program to generate a TeX file from which the test papers can be run off; see here for an explanation of how to run it.

    As I have not used this system for a class of more than about 20 students, I have not attempted to set up a machine-marking facility. Provided you have a scanner and suitable software, it would not be difficult to do this by amending the macro file multch.aux and the Fortran program multchqn.f appropriately.

    The courses for which I have used the system are

  • Real Analysis; questions and answers Postscript, TeX.
  • Group Theory; questions and answers Postscript, TeX.

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