Cohen and Rosenzweig on Death of Multiple-Choice Exams

CHNM staffers Dan Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig have published an article in the Feb. 24, 2006 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education on the implications of Cohen’s H-Bot software, and of similar data-mining services and the web in general. “No Computer Left Behind” argues that just as the calculator – an unavoidable modern technology – muscled its way into the mathematics exam room, devices to access and quickly scan the vast store of historical knowledge on the Internet (such as PDAs and smart phones) will inevitably disrupt the testing – and thus instruction – of humanities subjects. As the editors of the Chronicle put it in their headline: “The multiple-choice test is on its deathbed.” This development is to be praised, Cohen and Rosenzweig argue; just as the teaching of mathematics should be about higher principles rather than the rote memorization of multiplication tables, the teaching of subjects like history should be freed by new technologies to focus once again (as it was before a century of multiple-choice exams) on more important principles such as the analysis and synthesis of primary sources. You can read their article in the CHNM History and New Media essays repository.