Measuring student success is a top priority to ensure the best possible student outcomes. Through the years instructors have implemented new and creative strategies to assess student learning in both traditional and online higher education classrooms. Assessments can range from formative assessments, which monitor student learning with quick, efficient, and frequent checks on learning; to summative assessments, which evaluate student learning with “high stakes” exams, projects, and papers at the end of a unit or term.
For me examples are like pictures; worth a 1,000 words. In the previous post I wrote about the need to intervene in the development of student self-assessment skills, leaving the process less to chance and making it more the result of purposeful intervention. At a recent Teaching Professor Workshop, I saw an assignment that illustrates that kind of intervention. It was from a 100-level, Introduction to U.S. Government course, but is adaptable to any course. The assignment has two parts and they are the first and last pieces of work students complete in the course.
It is only a slight exaggeration to say that resistance to educational assessment comes from almost as many different sources as there are assessment tools, but in the end the reasons usually all boil down to three main issues:
- Lack of understanding of the value and importance of assessment
- Lack of resources to engage in assessment
- Fear of change and risk taking
Stronger than multiple choice, yet not quite as revealing (or time consuming to grade) as the essay question, the short answer question offers a great middle ground – the chance to measure a student’s brief composition of facts, concepts, and attitudes in a paragraph or less.
It’s a new year, but the same old challenges exist. Given today’s financial challenges, colleges and universities are all working harder than ever to be careful stewards of limited resources and to demonstrate their effectiveness to stakeholders, constituents, and the public.
I don’t know why I didn’t see it before. After 10 years of teaching, I finally realize why students get so nervous about exams. It’s because taking an exam is a performance. It’s just like American Idol , when they are doing the first round of auditions. You can have great natural ability and sound terrific, but when the spotlight shines down as you stand in front of the judges and the TV cameras, can you make it happen?