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Hardest Part Teaching


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Grading and Assessing Student Work

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Hardest Part Teaching

  1. 1. The Hardest Part of Teaching March Faculty Development Workshop Sponsored by PETAL
  2. 2. A Brief Note <ul><li>For most of us, the hardest part of teaching is not really the grading. </li></ul><ul><li>It’s the waking up in time for the 8AM class. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Timeline of Events <ul><li>She shoots! She scores! </li></ul><ul><li>Scooby Doo, who are you? </li></ul><ul><li>Consider this, Batman! </li></ul><ul><li>I’m a doctor, not a dictionary! </li></ul><ul><li>Can we talk? </li></ul><ul><li>Wrap up </li></ul>
  4. 4. She Shoots! She Scores! Goals for the Workshop <ul><li>Understand some of the terminology of assessment as springboard for thinking </li></ul><ul><li>Define our goals in creating systems for assessing students here at Fisher </li></ul><ul><li>Start the dialogue about grading and assessing students here at Fisher </li></ul>
  5. 5. Scooby Doo, Who Are You? Let’s Get Acquainted <ul><li>Who am I? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dr. Kris Green, MST/CS/Mathematics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I hate grading – reducing students to a single symbol </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I enjoy providing feedback to my students to help them learn </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I think tests, etc. should be a place to continue learning, rather than a proof of learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I rarely use the exact same anything twice </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Who are you? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Name, Department, Ideas about grading </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Consider This, Batman! Case Studies for Comparison <ul><li>This is the tale of three students in a high school Latin II class. Each has an 85% average, but got there differently. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Kris has received, despite his efforts, a score of 85% on every test, homework, and class exercise. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cindy started off in the 70% range, but has consistently been in the 90% range for the second half of the year. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mike is the opposite of Cindy. He started in the 90% range, then spent the second half of the semester in the 70% range. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Do all three deserve the same course grade, traditionally a B? </li></ul>
  7. 7. I’m a doctor, not a dictionary! The Basic Terminology <ul><li>From Grant Wiggins ( Educative Assessment) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The aim of assessment is primarily to educate and improve student performance, not merely to audit it. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assessment should be educative in two basic senses: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>It should be deliberately designed to teach (not just measure) by revealing to students what worthy work looks like (offering authentic tasks) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>It should provide rich and useful feedback to all students and to their teachers </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. The Guiding Light(s) Where should we head? <ul><li>Assessment reform must center on the purpose, not merely on the techniques or tools, of assessment. </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment reform is essentially a moral matter. </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment is central, not peripheral, to instruction. </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment anchors teaching, and authentic tasks anchor assessment. </li></ul><ul><li>Ass performance improvement is local. </li></ul>
  9. 9. What Are Little Grades Made Of? Components of Assessment <ul><li>Collecting the data </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Consider the sources of the data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consider the frequency of the data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consider the relevance of the data </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Evaluating the data </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Comparison against standards </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Comparison against other work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Providing effective feedback </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Assigning a grade-symbol </li></ul>
  10. 10. Just the Facts, Ma’am Some Possible Data Sources
  11. 11. Caveat Grader Qualitative v. Quantitative <ul><li>But remember, the data we collect is qualitative data – how students are doing with the material, what students have done, what students are having trouble with. </li></ul><ul><li>Consider the typical math scheme: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hand work in (qualitative) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Put a percentage grade on work and average (quantitative) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assign a letter grade (qualitative) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Multiple translations like this will loose meaning without clearly defined grade standards (not simply percentage point or total point requirements). </li></ul><ul><li>We should provide “Grade Profiles” to our students – qualitative descriptions of what student performance at each letter grade looks like (good examples from Foundation for Critical Thinking, </li></ul>
  12. 12. Another Dichotomy Objective v. Subjective <ul><li>Objective grading measures performance relative to fixed, universal standards </li></ul><ul><li>Subjective grading is based on more relative measures like the rest of the class’s performance or a student’s earlier performance. </li></ul><ul><li>But, all assessment requires judgment. Hiding the judgment in a single letter grade is dishonest and does not really help the student learn from his or her mistakes. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Another Dichotomy Summative v. Formative <ul><li>Summative evaluation is like a final exam: a one shot sampling of topics are covered and you are assessed as to whether you know/understand/can do them at that point only. </li></ul><ul><li>Formative evaluation is on-going and is designed to help the student improve; thus, it is a part of the learning process: writing and revising a paper, for example. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Can We Talk? Questions for Discussion <ul><li>What do I want the students to know, understand, and be able to do? How does this affect my teaching and planning? </li></ul><ul><li>What does an A student look like? What about a B, C, D, or F? </li></ul><ul><li>Are these profiles of A, B, C, D, F students consistent across the curriculum, or should they change as the level of the coursework changes? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the role of standards in assessing students: should we hold them up to a rigid ruler or should the ruler flex based on the other students? </li></ul><ul><li>How can we avoid grade compression and grade inflation? </li></ul>
  15. 15. The Check(list) is in the mail Checklist of Requirements <ul><li>Let’s come up with 3-5 items in each group that would be necessary components for any system to assess students here at Fisher. </li></ul><ul><li>We’ll share these and generate a master list with descriptors. I’ll email this to everyone and place the information on my website, along with this PowerPoint: </li></ul><ul><li> then look for teacher resources. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Selected Resources for Perusal <ul><li>Grant Wiggins, Educative Assessment </li></ul><ul><li>Tom Bourner and Steve Flowers Teaching and Learning Methods in Higher Education </li></ul><ul><li>Part III of the New York State MST Standards Guide at </li></ul><ul><li>Office of Academic Planning and Assessment, Univ. of Massachusetts Amherst at </li></ul>
  17. 17. Thank You