What direction should I go in using a cognitive approach to assessments?

When developing test questions using a cognitive approach, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What cognitive processes do students need to perform in order to answer the question correctly?
  • Do students need to simply identify concepts or do they need to do something with the concept, such as apply it to a given set of circumstances?
  • What tacit knowledge do students need in order to answer the question correctly?
  • What is assumed or what needs to be inferred when answering the question?
  • Do the distractors (if writing a multiple choice test) elicit the targeted cognitive process from the students?
  • Can the question be reasoned through using principles and concepts from the course, or is it a "you know it or you don't" type of question?
Last updated: Aug 24, 2011