I believe that students at the college level should be able to identify a properly formatted Works Cited page just by looking. Now, I'm not saying that they should be able to know if the source is from a journal, newspaper, or a database, etc.; rather, students should know what a proper Works Cited page looks like. Is it double spaced? Does it have hanging indentation? Do the entries end in periods? Those types of concerns.

So, it's the last 2 weeks of class; I've been going through the proper set-up for a Works Cited page all semester, and now it's time for the assessment. Of course, there's the final essay; however, these won't be graded until after the class ends and the feedback won't be useful for most students. If I can assess them on the final exam, then they can get the feedback before their final essay is due and use the feedback to at least create a visually correct Works Cited page.

In the past, I had students create a Works Cited page from scratch using select resources. This backfired when I spent too much time grading every minute detail. This year, I've devised a different type of test--one that incorporates multiple choice and some basic knowledge. Check it out.

Even though the page might be blurred, a person the least bit familiar with MLA formatting should be able to identify the correct Works Cited page. "Identify" is the key word...not knit-pick or analyze, but simply identify in 30 seconds or less. Can you?

Following the multiple choice question, students can then explain their thinking and it takes the test to the next level.

The Logistics

It was simple enough to create these images of Works Cited pages. I simply did a screen capture of three student Works Cited pages and inserted them in the test document. I made sure to choose essays from former students, deleted their names in the header, and I chose two pages that represent the most common mistakes made on Works Cited pages. Of course, one of them is correct, but I'm afraid I can't tell you. My students might be watching! If you really want to know what a proper Works Cited page looks like, you can see a sample essay here.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has done something like this. Have you? Care to share? What were your results?

Happy finals, everyone!

Comments (2)

On April 30, 2010 at 5:09 AM , Maria H. Andersen said...

I think that someone needs to develop a way to learn citations by playing a game. Got any ideas on what that might look like?

My only thought would be something like English Forensics ... here's the paper of your academic nemesis, you suspect they plagiarized, the only way to know for sure is to track down all the references and check them. (???)

On April 30, 2010 at 8:38 PM , KB said...

I have had my students play games w/ citations, but nothing fancy. Mostly, it's like Jeopardy & stuff.

I've done citation scavenger hunts, too. One problem is that although students seem to enjoy the activity and they seem to learn something from it, they don't transfer the knowledge jto their own essays. They don't really think it's that important, even after not finding a source that's been cited incorrectly! So, perhaps the question is how to relate it to the outside world. Who uses citations other than academia?