The most popular term, by far, was “Columbian Exchange” followed by “Martin Luther,” “Abolition” and “The Bill of Rights.”
As with the pop quizzes, I scored each answer on a 4-point scale, then added up the results. The high score in the class was 42 out of a possible 48 (before extra credit), which I used as the 100% mark (which raised everyone’s grades a lot). The median score was a B or B-. Here’s how the grade scale worked out:
This looks pretty good, but remember two things. The extra credits were a very helpful: most people got both right, and each grade scale was only three points or a bit more. The top score is very likely to go up in later tests, which means that everyone has to improve just to stay even.
Finally, I was, as I noted, very disappointed by the number of answers which parroted back the textbook’s sidebar definitions. Here are a few examples of how those definitions compare to answers which actually got good scores (3.5 or 4 out of 4) below the fold. My favorite example is the last one: notice how the textbook sidebar definition almost entirely fails to mention what makes Cornwallis important in this chapter, but the student definition ignores all the irrelevant stuff and goes right to significance? Note that the student definitions aren’t perfect but they very clearly cover the context, often mention and define related terms, and are especially good on significance, why the term/person/etc. mattered:
|Succesful Student Answers
|Columbian Exchange: The movement of goods across the Atlantic Ocean, including plants, animals, diseass and immigrants after 1492 when Columbus sailed to the Americas. European crops such as sugarcane, doffee and rice were very prosperous in the Americas while Maize, tomatoes and especially tobacco was popular in Europe. Sheep, goats, and horses were brought to the Americas by Europeans, as was smallpox which devastated the natives. Silver was an extremely important export. The rest of the worlds’ economies prospered greatly from the Columbian Exchange.
|Columbian Exchange: All the plants, animals, goods, and diseass that crossed the Atlantic, and sometimes the Pacific, after 1492.
|Abolition: Movement to stop slavery in the 18th century England. The British used their pride of their country’s “liberty” as a convincer that slavery should be stopped. Oluadah Equiano was a powerful advocate for this movement. Finally, in the early 19th century, Parliament passed the Act for the Abolition of Slave Trade, which outlawed buying and selling slaves in Africa and Americas. They used the Royal Navy to greatly suppress the slave trade going on in the Atlantic.
|Abolitionist: A man or woman who advocated an end to the practice of slavery. In the late 18c a powerful abolitionist movement existed in England.
|Suleyman: Ottoman Emperor in the 1500s that is credited with building the foundation for one of the world’s finest empires. Locatedin modern-day Turkey, he was both competition and inspiration to European powers. He was given the name “Lawmaker” and because he was religiously tolerant set up different courts for each religion. He also based a person’s rank on skill over birth order. Many slaves (Janissaries) became some of the higher ranking officials and advisors.
|Suleyman (r. 1520-1566) Also known as “Suleyman the Magnificent” and “Suleyman the Lawgiver” he extended the Ottoman Emprie while maintaining economic and political stability. Credited with the development o literature, art, architecture, and law and for inclusive policies toward religious minorities.
|Encomienda System: A system put in place by the Spanish to control abuses by colonists among the Amerindians. Amerindians were entrusted to a colonist who would teach them Christianity in Exchange for silver from the Amerindians. It eventually lead to more abuses.
|Encomienda System: (Literally “entrusted”) system established in 1503 by the Spanish in the hope of clarifying arrangements with the colonists and of ending the abuse of indigenous peoples of the Americas.
|Lord Charles Cornwallis – English Lord in the 1700s. Helped create a large and stable trading empire for the British across the world, but mainly in India.
|Lord Charles Cornwallis (1738-1795) British General who surrendered to American forces at Yorktown and later served as govern-general of India and Ireland.