This week we are looking at another article. My apprentice has been reading and re-reading Kay Germain Ingalls great article, “Cherchez la femme! Looking for Female Ancestors” in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly Vol.88, No. 3 (Sept 2000) pp. 165-176. Her assignment was to create questions to be used either in a discussion group, or in multiple choice form for use in a test, or on-line course situation. The task of creating questions causes the reader to read a little closer.
The open ended discussion questions were interesting. The intent is to help the learner report on processes and rationales. Tell me, do these examples do that?
- Why is using original records vital in tracing elusive females?
- Why is it important to know the laws of the time and place that your are researching?
- Why is it important to write down and cite thew information that you already have and correlate it with events of that time?
- How does researching land title and deeds help in finding females?
- What important information might you find on probate records regarding females?
- Why does making a time-line help in “filling in the blanks” for our female research subject ?
Turning to the test type questions in multiple choice format my apprentice created these examples. In this format the top students should pick the right answer. The mid-range ones should scatter their choice among the correct answer and the distractors. The poor students should be enticed to the distractors only. That’s in perfect conditions.. No option should be un selected in a group of 30-50 average students. Here are some examples. You tell me what you think about their effectiveness.
A feme sole is:
a) Sole surviving female
b) had the right to own property and make contracts in her own name
c) an unmarried woman
d) b and c
What is a dower?
a) was a provision for support during life (particularly for the widowhood period)
b) the gift given by the groom to the bride
c) all the above
d) none of the above
A dower release is:
a) property/money given to a female at the time of marriage
b) a widow’s quitclaim
c) a widow’s inheritance that was finally given
Look at the distractors. Does their length tip you off? Can you think of better distractors? Better ways to write the question or stimulus?
Your comments are welcome.