Directory Assistance II

I have occasionally written (examples here and here) about students interpreting assignment and exam prompts in ways that differ from what I intend.

This happened again with the first exam in the undergraduate course that I am teaching this semester. The exam prompt directed students to add to a Twine story. In a class of nineteen students, only one actually wrote text to add to the story. The rest of the students wrote up to three pages that described additions to the story. So here is the prompt for the second exam — changes in bold:

“Play the [link to Twine HTML file in Canvas course shell] game. Write a brief paragraph about one character in the Twine that continues the text of the story and presents the reader with a binary yes/no choice to make about the character. Then write a brief paragraph for each outcome of that choice.  The three paragraphs need to be part of a plot line that reflects one of the following economic development concepts:

[list of concepts students are being tested on]

Write the story, do not describe it.

At the top of your exam, in four sentences or less, 1) identify which of these concepts your plot line demonstrates, and 2) explain how the concept is demonstrated by your plot line.

Your work will be assessed according to the rubric below.”

The second exam is at the end of this week, so I will soon be able to report on whether the revised prompt is more effective.