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Mastery Learning and Grading

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Grading so the Everyone Can Learn

Grading so the Everyone Can Learn

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  • 1. Mastery Learning and Grading: Grading so that Everyone Can Learn Ryan Gantner Eileen Lynd-Balta 14 November 2008
  • 2. History and Literature
    • Bloom (1966) introduced “Learning for Mastery” (LFM)
    • Keller (1966) introduced “Personalized System of Instruction” (PSI)
  • 3. History and Literature
    • Lee Shulman:
    • “… the greatest barrier to student learning is the insane way in which we use time.”
    • “ Our fundamental error…is that we treat time as a constant and permit achievement to vary.”
  • 4. History and Literature
    • “ I'm not suggesting we revive the somewhat dormant methods of mastery learning.”
    • Abundance of literature in 1970s and 1980s
  • 5. Adapting to a college setting
    • Reality: time is fixed!
    • Time is scarce
  • 6. Benefits of Mastery Learning
    • Explicit set of expectations for student learning
    • Link between performance and grading is very clear
    • Students cannot ignore unwanted material
    • Students are not penalized for learning at a slower pace
  • 7. Drawbacks of Mastery Learning
    • Time
    • “ Checklist” attitude allows students to seek path of least resistance
    • Learn-then-forget
    • Too much work for instructor
    • Logistics
  • 8. Examples
    • Ryan: Math 120 (Calculus 1)
      • 7 topics
      • Topic mastery is minimum required to pass
      • Extra “bonus” activities allow student to better his/her grade
      • Contrast with previous semesters
  • 9. Examples
    • Eileen: Human Anatomy (BIOL 105)
    • “ My grades accurately reflect my performance in this class.”
    • Engagement
      • “ Your active participation in the course is an important key to your success.”
      • How should it be factored into grade?
  • 10. Syllabus
    • Assessment Profile
      • 6 exams
        • 90 pts content + 10 pts engagement
        • Learning objectives provided in advance
        • lowest exam dropped
      • Cumulative lab exam (100 pts)
      • Cumulative course exam (150 pts)
  • 11. Engagement
    • If you participate in class discussions, AND collaborate with your peers, AND contribute positively to the class/lab, AND complete assignments, AND have an organized binder, AND have no unexcused absences, then you can earn up to 10 points on each of the first six exams.
  • 12. Engagement
    • However, any of the following will result in a loss of up to 10 points on each of the first six exams: unexcused absence(s), OR missing/poor quality assignment(s), OR unorganized/incomplete binder, OR tardiness, OR an unwillingness to work collaboratively with your peers, OR being disruptive in class/lab, OR using cell phone during class/lab.
  • 13. Mandatory Meetings
    • Anyone scoring below 60/90 pts
    • At meeting, review:
      • exam
      • current level of participation
      • discuss strategies to improve
    • No meeting, no participation points
    • Informative discussion
  • 14. Cumulative Final Exams
      • Essential knowledge
        • student’s help decide content
    • If combined average on cumulative lab exam and cumulative final course exam is <60%, then that student will earn no higher than a D+ for the final course grade.
  • 15. Grading so that Everyone Can Learn
    • Clear expectations
    • Formative assessment
    • Ownership
    • Ally
  • 16. Activity: how can you use this?
    • Maximize Benefits (clear expectations, minimal “one-shot” grading, motivation)
    • Minimize drawbacks (checklist attitude, instructor time, learn-then-forget)