I gave two practice exams in AP Biology this week as we look to the upcoming exam. After running each one, I was able to run an item analysis. From that I was able to determine all “problem items” (which I defined as those items that >30% of my students did not answer correctly). I could then correlate the items by course unit, and topics that they addressed.
This is a useful tool in itself. But I could also go one step further. Once I had the list of problem topics, I could then tally the total number of times each topic came up in the list. Then I could feed that in to a word cloud generator, indicating the relative size of each topic by the frequency of their appearance in my list of problem topics.
Why bother? Because I was able to make this:
Cool, eh? I think I’ll print it out in color on Monday and give it to all of my students. Every little bit helps here at the end.
Hang in there, AP. We're almost done!