Nano-Project Qualifying Exam Process: An Intensified Dialogue between Students and Faculty

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Nano-Project Qualifying Exam Process: An Intensified Dialogue between Students and Faculty

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Title: Nano-Project Qualifying Exam Process: An Intensified Dialogue between Students and Faculty
Author: Blitzstein, Joseph Kalmon; Meng, Xiao-Li

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Citation: Blitzstein, Joseph, and Xiao-Li Meng. 2010. Nano-project qualifying exam process: an intensified dialogue between students and faculty. The American Statistician 64(4): 282-290.
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Abstract: An effectively designed examination process goes far beyond revealing students’ knowledge or skills. It also serves as a great teaching and learning tool, incentivizing the students to think more deeply and to connect the dots at a higher level. This extends throughout the entire process: pre-exam preparation, the exam itself, and the post-exam period (the aftermath or, more appropriately, afterstat of the exam). As in the publication process, the first submission is essential but still just one piece in the dialogue. Viewing the entire exam process as an extended dialogue between students and faculty, we discuss ideas for making this dialogue induce more inspiration than perspiration, and thereby making it a memorable deep-learning triumph rather than a wish-to-forget test-taking trauma. We illustrate such a dialogue through a recently introduced course in the Harvard Statistics Department, Stat 399: Problem Solving in Statistics, and two recent Ph.D. qualifying examination problems (with annotated solutions). The problems are examples of “nano-projects”: big picture questions split into bite-sized pieces, fueling contemplation and conversation throughout the entire dialogue.
Published Version: doi:10.1198/tast.2010.10027
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Open Access Policy Articles, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#OAP
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:5139086

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  • FAS Scholarly Articles [7106]
    Peer reviewed scholarly articles from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Harvard University
 
 

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