Adaptive Activity: Personal Practice Overview

Personal Practice activities appear at the end of each module (study unit). Ideally, they should be scenario-based. The questions offered are based on student performance throughout the module. Students who struggle with a specific objective are given more questions that scaffold to the core questions, which all students see. 

You can set Personal Practice activities for a completion grade or a score. The score is based only on core questions.

If students enter the Personal Practice without doing any work in the module, they will not have any learning estimates on that content, and they will be given all the available questions.

Note: A preliminary data review for the Gates Foundation found that 40% of learners who went into the activity with a low learning estimate increased their learning estimate to the next level by completing the activity.

 

Guidelines for Learning Estimates

LOW Learning Estimate Content

MEDIUM Learning Estimate Content HIGH Learning Estimate Content
  • Students who have done poorly receive this content.
  • These questions are at the recall/remember Bloom's level (difficulty level = easy).
  • These questions should be supported by reference content when available.
  • Minimum of one question.
  • Students who have done average receive this content.
  • Low learning estimate students receive this content after the LOW content.
  • These questions are typically at the understand Bloom's level (difficulty level = moderate).
  • These questions should be supported by reference content when available.
  • Minimum of one question.
  • Students who have done well receive this content.
  • Low and medium learning estimate students receive this content after the LOW and MEDIUM content.
  • These questions are typically at the apply Bloom's level (difficulty level = difficult).
  • Minimum of one question (typically 1-2 questions).

 

Authoring Requirements

For the Personal Practice to function correctly, the content in the module must have enough data points for the learning estimate to work properly. Personal Practice activities require a minimum of one question (and a maximum of four questions) for each learning estimate level (low-medium-high) per learning objective. Questions must contain supporting correct/incorrect feedback, and you must supply additional supporting remediation content to scaffold the Personal Practice questions.

When authoring assessments, consider support questions:

  • What does every student need to answer?
  • How can you scaffold to the core questions?
  • What do you need before the core questions?

 

Authoring Questions

The following table provides guidance on authoring questions.

Good questions Bad questions
  • measure relevant skills and knowledge
  • are discriminating
  • are fair
  • are clear
  • are consistent in format
  • include irrelevant sources of difficulty
  • are arbitrary
  • are biased
  • are ambiguous
  • have formats that confuse students

 

Authoring Easy Questions

The following are suggestions for writing easy questions:

  • Definitional/vocabulary questions tend to be easier than questions requiring application or critical judgments.
  • Stick with the phrasing used by the text. Don’t require students to paraphrase.
  • Keep vocabulary simple.
  • Keep the questions short.
  • Any question can be made easier my making the wrong choices easier to eliminate. But don’t make them so obviously wrong that they become silly.

 

Authoring Hard Questions

The following are suggestions for writing easy questions:

  • Test deeper skills. Go beyond memorization.
  • Require the students to paraphrase and recognize the same content in a different context.
  • Make the wrong answer choices more subtle (yet still wrong). Bring in common misconceptions to tempt the unskilled.

 

Authoring Feedback

Be cautious when drafting feedback. Work to ensure adequate direction is provided to the student while not giving away the answer. Remember that feedback shows up right away to students.

Feedback can be useful in scaffolding an assessment. Ask yourself: What kind of guidance or hints work best? How will you phrase these questions and hints?

 

Creating Scenarios

While Personal Practice activities do not have to be scenario-based, Acrobatiq recommends scenarios to make them a richer experience. Ask yourself: How will students use this knowledge up to this time in the course? Is there a scenario in which students will need to draw on this knowledge?