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Techniques for Assessing
Course-Related Knowledge and Skills

Assessing Skills in Problem Solving


  1. PROBLEM RECOGNITION TASKS - present students with a few examples of common problem types. The student is asked to recognize and identify the particular type of problem each example represents. Can be used in quantitative and technical fields, but also for broader problem-solving applications such as in law, counseling, policy analysis, etc.

  2. WHAT'S THE PRINCIPLE - after deciding what type of problem they are dealing with, students must then be able to decipher which techniques or principles should be applied in order to solve it. Provide students with a few example problems and have them state the principle that best applies.

  3. DOCUMENTED PROBLEM SOLUTIONS - have students keep track of and document the steps/methods they take in solving a problem. In doing this, both students and teachers can gain and analyze information on their problem-solving skills.

  4. AUDIO AND VIDEOTAPED PROTOCOLS - record students talking and working through the process of solving a problem, how do they explain it to themselves and someone else?

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Virginia Commonwealth University | Center for Teaching Excellence
Last modified: June 20, 2013
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