Chapter 5. Assessment

Types of Questions To Avoid

Effective quizzing does not ever include yes/no questions such as “Do you understand?” or “Do you have any questions?” Instructors should also avoid the following types of questions:

  • Puzzle—“What is the first action you should take if a conventional gear airplane with a weak right brake is swerving left in a right crosswind during a full flap, power-on wheel landing?”
  • Oversize—“What do you do before beginning an engine overhaul?”
  • Toss-up—“In an emergency, should you squawk 7700 or pick a landing spot?”;
  • Bewilderment—“In reading the altimeter—you know you set a sensitive altimeter for the nearest station pressure—if you take temperature into account, as when flying from a cold air mass through a warm front, what precaution should you take when in a mountainous area?”
  • Trick questions—these questions cause the students to develop the feeling that they are engaged in a battle of wits with the instructor, and the whole significance of the subject of the instruction involved is lost. An example of a trick question would be one in which the response options are 1, 2, 3, and 4, but they are placed in the following form.

A. 4

B. 3

C. 2

D. 1

  • Irrelevant questions—diversions that introduce only unrelated facts and thoughts and slow the student’s progress. Questions unrelated to the test topics are not helpful in evaluating the student’s knowledge of the subject at hand. An example of an irrelevant question would be to ask a question about tire inflation during a test on the timing of magnetos.

Answering Student Questions

Tips for responding effectively to student questions, especially in a classroom setting:

  • Be sure that you clearly understand the question before attempting to answer.
  • Display interest in the student’s question and frame an answer that is as direct and accurate as possible.
  • After responding, determine whether or not the student is satisfied with the answer.

Sometimes it is unwise to introduce considerations more complicated or advanced than necessary to completely answer a student’s question at the current point in training. In this case, the instructor should carefully explain to the student that the question was good and pertinent, but that a detailed answer would, at this time, unnecessarily complicate the learning tasks. The instructor should invite the student to reintroduce the question later at the appropriate point in training.

Occasionally, a student asks a question that the instructor cannot answer. In such cases, the instructor should freely admit not knowing the answer, but should promise to get the answer or, if practicable, offer to help the student look it up in available references.

Chapter Summary

This chapter has offered the aviation instructor techniques and methods for assessing how, what, and how well a student is learning. Well-designed assessments define what is worth knowing, thereby improving student learning. Since today’s students want to know the criteria by which they are assessed, as well as practical and specific feedback, it is important for aviation instructors to be familiar with the different types of assessments available for monitoring student progress throughout a course of training, and how to select the most appropriate assessment method.

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