Sunday, May 06, 2012

Open, Collaborative Test

by Mike Kaechele

I was inspired by Shelly's final exam to try my own version of a collaborative, open internet test. The background for this is that students worked in groups of 3 on one of five topics related to the Cold War: Germany, China, Korea, Vietnam, and the arms and space race. All students were responsible for researching the beginnings of the Cold War and the policies and actions of the West and the Soviet Bloc. Students prepared presentations on their topic and shared while their classmates took notes. The next day the students worked in their same groups (they had two hours) to answer the following questions with full access to their computers.

Names and font colors :

Please pick a different color font for each group member and use it throughout. You should proofread each others' work before you are done. You must answer all of these questions in your own thoughts and words. Copy and pasting will result in no credit for that question! Your answers should be in complete sentences and paragraph form. You have some choices in how you answer these questions. Be sure that you address ALL of our sub-topics: China, Germany, Korea, Vietnam, and the arms and space race somewhere in this test.


WHG8.1.1a blue
Explain the origins of the Cold War including the differences in ideologies and policies of the Soviet bloc and the West.

The arms and space race between United States and Soviet Union.

Conflicts in Korea and Vietnam.

The development of communism in China

Answer all of the following:

  1. Explain how the conclusion of WWII helps start the Cold War. Be sure to list specific events and decisions by different countries.
  2. Explain in detail the message of this political cartoon. Be sure to identify the people, countries, etc:
  3. Give 3 examples of how the Capital used fear to manipulate people in The Hunger Games.
  4. Explain the “Domino Effect” and “containment” and how they originated from the Truman Doctrine. Give an example of how these policies were implemented.
  5. List as many examples of proxy wars from the Cold War that you can. Explain in detail how one of them was a proxy war.
  6. What factors lead to communism developing in China and how is China part of the Cold War?
  7. How were the space and arms race related to each other and to the Cold War? Give detailed examples of how they began and progressed.
  8. Watch this. Explain how this is not the end of the Cold War. How and why did the Cold War end?
  9. Evaluate your partners in this Google Form.

Choose 4 of the following questions to answer in detail:

  1. Insert 2 images (One Western and One Soviet) of propaganda and explain how they used fear to manipulate people.
  2. Why was this era called the Cold War? Use reason and evidence to support your claim.
  3. List the title and artist of a Cold War song,insert a hotlink to the song lyrics, and explain how that song relates to the Cold War. Bonus points if Mr. Kaechele likes the song:)
  4. Explain how “The Butter Battle Book” is an analogy to the “Arms Race.”
  5. Give specific examples of Cold War governments making decisions based on fear and false assumptions of the opposing side.
  6. Some people have compared the Cold War to a chess match. Others say “The Cold War never fought any physical battles.” Agree or disagree with one of these statements and support your opinion with examples.
  7. Explain how the Berlin Airlift was brinkmanship between the Soviets and the Americans.
  8. Explain how the Suez Canal Crisis was part of the Cold War.
  9. Watch “We choose to go to the moon.” How is this speech propaganda? How is it part of the Cold War? How is this speech part of the “American myth” of exceptionalism?
  10. Choose any topic of the Cold War that you feel is not addressed in the previous questions that you feel that you are an expert on. Explain it in detail.
 Some observations of this process is that students were challenged. I also enjoyed listening to the conversations going on in the room. They were more intense than normal. A couple of students told me they liked the test. When is the last time you have heard that? I also think that if I used this format again they will do even better in both their preparation and understanding that it is their responsibility to make sure that they address all of the standards.


  1. I love this idea. I have experimented with collaborative assessments this year in history and think I will continue to do it next year. Currently I have just been using multiple choice tests. I really like the idea of the essay type questions with different colors. I think that I will incorporate that into my units next year.

  2. I'm not sure I understand how this worked. Was each student expected to contribute to each answer? Or did students split up the questions within the group? Did you get any copy-&-paste-&-change-5-words answers? Those are problems I've run into with lab reports in the past...

  3. I use a similar test, but only for my Africa Unit - Here is the test if you're interested: The Africa test, more than any other I give to the students, generates the deepest discussion and reflection of our studies. While collaborative tests may not necessarily lend itself to all content areas, social studies affords students to make connections and build on evidence to support analysis.

  4. @jsb16,

    I did get a few who copied and pasted, but they received no credit as stated. Some students divided the questions and some worked more collaboratively. I definitely heard many discussions during the test on the content. Students were still learning DURING the test.

    @Greg thanks for sharing another good example of a collaborative test. Do you let students use the interent or notes during your test?

    1. Students get a brief 5 - 10 minute session with the Internet in which they can reinforce any points in which they felt deficient. I forgot to mention that the students are required to work together - no divide and conquer.

  5. Thanks for sharing this stuff here can you suggest me some good websites for laptop batteries I want to buy a Brand New battery for my laptop


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