Making Midterm Grades Meaningful

With the Faculty Assembly’s passage of the new midterm grade reporting policy last week, we’ve gotten some questions about what this means for course design as well as how we might ensure the grades we report are meaningful and accurate reflections of our students’ progress. This week’s post will try to answer those questions, as well as provide some food for thought as you think about your spring courses. Since a short post can’t cover everything in depth, we invite you to come by the CETL if you’d like to dive deeper into any of this.¬†

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Seven Principles, part three-ish: Timely and Effective Feedback

This week, we’re using a bit of editorial discretion to shuffle Chickering and Gamson’s Seven Principles around a bit and look at the question of feedback. Chickering and Gamson declare that “prompt feedback” to students is one of the seven good practices of undergraduate education. Of course, there is an entire spectrum of methods we can use to give students feedback about their work–some of it informal, some of it formal. It’s often the formal part of that feedback that trips us up, though. The piles of papers to grade and journal entries to read, of drafts to provide comments on and exams to mark, can reach intimidating proportions faster than we realize. I’m convinced that exam blue books breed in my office overnight, since the pile on my desk always seems bigger no matter how many of them I’ve plowed through the day before. And that, in a nutshell, is what makes this principle the hardest one to consistently practice: it often seems like I can either give good feedback, or have it be prompt, but not both. Continue reading “Seven Principles, part three-ish: Timely and Effective Feedback”

Midterm is Nigh…

WAT..And I’m still forgetting to write “2016” on documents. I’m not sure that I’m emotionally ready for midterm, but it’ll be here in the next couple of weeks whether any of us are¬†ready or not. And with midterm comes an opportunity for our students and for us to take stock of where we are, where we’re going, and if we’re doing what we need to get there effectively. We’ve internalized midterm-as-assessment for our students; most of us have a midterm exam or project, and we all report midterm low grades. We use midterm as a benchmark for our students–as well we should. Continue reading “Midterm is Nigh…”