Ongoing Classroom Feedback
What is ongoing assessment? In our classes we all have specific aspirations for students, such as backing up claims with information from primary sources. There are some very useful and straightforward ways to see how well students are doing during the semester. This is ongoing (also called “formative”) assessment or evaluation. The basic idea is this: a professor identifies a skill/way of thinking, etc. and an approach to assess student progress, gets that feedback, and then uses that information to modify the course, talk to the class as a whole, or meet with particular students (it’s kind of like tasting your soup as you’re cooking to see if you need to add salt, instead of waiting until you serve the soup at a dinner party). Many studies show that student learning/understanding can improve when faculty use ongoing assessment well.
Why do this at Hampshire? Some Hampshire students say that they need more frequent, clear information about how they are doing in our classes. In first year courses especially, students coming from traditional schools would like to have a clearer idea of their progress, what faculty are looking for from students, and how faculty think the course is going. Formative assessment allows faculty to give students feedback very efficiently.
Some tried-and-true approaches
A classroom visit from Hampshire’s Center for Teaching and Learning.
Charlene D’Avanzo will be pleased to briefly meet with your students to get feedback about a course and then report back to you. The process involves an initial meeting to identify what a professor would like to know. General input about how the course is going? Specific feedback about a particular aspect of the class? Then Charlene will meet with students for 10-15 minutes (you'll need to leave the class) and synthesize what she has learned. The final step is another meeting with the teacher to go over what students have said and possible next steps. This is a completely confidential procedure. Interested faculty should contact Charlene: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Online Resources for Assessing Your Students’ Learning
FLAG (Field-tested Learning Assessment Guide): The FLAG offers broadly applicable, self-contained modular classroom assessment techniques (CATs).
FLAG Assessment Primer – What is Assessment? Why do it?
Iowa State PLUS/DELTA Classroom Assessment Technique: Identifying what is going well and what needs to be changed.
Formative vs. Summative Evaluation (pdf)
Angelo, T. A. & Cross, K. P. (1993). Classroom assessment techniques: A handbook for college teachers. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Bloom, B. S., et al. (1994). Excerpts from the "Taxonomy of educational objectives, the classification of educational goals, handbook I: Cognitive domain." In L. W. Anderson & L. A. Sosniak (Eds.), Bloom's taxonomy: A forty-year retrospective. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
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