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Evaluation of Final Examination Papers in Engineering: A Case Study Using Bloom's Taxonomy

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1 Author(s)
Swart, A.J. ; Dept. of Electron. Eng., Vaal Univ. of Technol., Vanderbijlpark, South Africa

Questions are used to obtain information, stimulate thinking, and redirect reasoning. Academics in higher education use questions on a daily basis to stimulate thinking and reasoning in students. Final examination papers are used by academics to assess the retention and application skills of students. The assumption, however, exists that questions relating to application skills at universities of technology should start to dominate the higher academic levels in education, with a subsequent drop in questions regarding retention skills. These questions may be categorized as either higher order or lower order questions. This article attempts to distinguish between these two types of questions in light of Bloom's taxonomy, with similar concepts such as deep and surface learning being examined. The literature review is applied to an electrical engineering module titled Electronics, which serves as the case study. The results of this study indicate that a high percentage of the final examination papers dealt with the objective ¿Application,¿ where students had to make use of numerous mathematical equations to solve various unknowns. The results also indicated that academics in electronics are using more lower order than higher order questions in their final examination papers. A balance is suggested between these two types of questions for various academic levels at universities of technology.

Published in:

Education, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:53 ,  Issue: 2 )

Date of Publication:

May 2010

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