Embedding real-time feedback loops in exams

One of the interesting things about teaching an engineering class is that it’s usually really straightforward to check whether a solution to a problem is correct.1 Most students don’t take the time to do this, though.

To help build this habit, I started implementing a feedback loop into exams by requiring students to not only solve a problem, but also demonstrate that it’s correct using an independent calculation or approach.

I want to share a few observations why I like this.

At the end of the day, knowing how to know when you’re right is a key skill for a practicing engineer. The more we can embed notions of ethics in even basic material, the closer we come to producing excellent, reliable engineers.

  1. Your mileage may vary in other disciplines. In statics, though, we can always verify equilibrium from any vantage point.