Our divisions heads have asked us as departments to discuss our semester and final exams with the goals of ensuring that they are truly testing the students on what we hope they learned and that they are worthy of their 20% weight into the semester grade. Our exams are two hours long, and we have the option of using the laptops or not -- although Internet access is not available in our testing site.
While I know there will be many thoughts out there about the worth of such exams and whether they should have such weight, that is not something our school is open to pursuing right now. Instead, I would love to know the BEST exam or part of an exam you ever gave. Also, what have you done to have your exam be skill-centered rather than content-centered? Maybe between us all, we can create the perfect exam that is worthwhile and challenging for whatever school, like mine, is committed to having exams.
I'll start: a colleague and I crafted a section on the British Literature exam where the students wrote about what they learned from their classmates' wiki postings on the novel Regeneration. I thought it was so effective because it forced them to read new ideas and to collaborate. They got to pick any two of the wiki entries to read and learn, so they had choice, but whatever they chose, they were validating their classmates' work and learning more about the novel.