Because big history deals with everything that has ever happened, examining students is perhaps the most challenging aspect of teaching
a big history course.
And because teaching big history is relatively new, the development of satisfactory examination models
is still an ongoing process. These models will also depend on the possibilities and limitations of your college. As a result,
the guidelines provided below should be seen as suggestions, and your feedback will be very much appreciated.
the textbook and guest lectures
The textbook can be examined by using the learning goals and objectives, quite possibly adapted
to the teacherís preferences. There are several ways of doing so, including:
- Requesting students to write summaries of the
required reading. This involves complicated grading, because it is hard to establish clear guidelines.
- Testing the required reading
using specific questions.
In both cases, answers will inevitably vary. As a result it will be challenging to established unambiguous
grade guidelines that cannot be contested by students.
- Testing the required reading using multiple choice tests. This is not
very inspiring, perhaps, but it is efficient, relatively objective, and easy to grade.
The guest lectures of a team-taught
course can be examined along the same lines.
Examining classroom participation
Classroom participation is hard
to grade, because students have different characters and cultures: some are very active, while others may be holding back for various
reasons. Yet by observing students carefully and trying to engage them it is possible to grade students in ways that are rarely contested,
if ever. The grading of student's presentations is more straightforward.
Grading little big history essays
The examination models to be provided here are currently under development, and will hopefully
be available soon. On request, they will be sent by email to teachers who can identify themselves as such, including their college
For more information, please contact the author at: info "at" bighistory.info .