jperry at UWC.EDU
Fri Jan 3 19:20:31 EST 1997
I'm about to teach General Botany for (mostly) freshmen students, and I
wonder if any of you would like to share techniques of assessment that you
have found particularly good. Taking cues from Angelo and Cross, in the past
I have done "one minute papers" at the end of class, and have also asked for
questions/comments from the students via email. Last year I did a pretest
consisting of 50 multiple choice questions (I told them I wanted to know
what they already knew, which was predictably not much; I gave them 5 points
for simply filling it out on the honor system (good success); I did not
return the pretest to them) and then I gave the same questions as a posttest
as part of the comprehensive final exam. The improvement was gratifying, but
N was small (18).
When I was a department chair at another institution, we tried a pretest
with am intro bio class of about 400, with a multiple choice exam of, as I
recall, 100 questions. There were some students who would not play the game
and left after they had literally only written their names on the scan sheet
because it was required for the course. Obviously a real flop.
As a most time administrator and little time (now) classroom facilitator, I
feel and make felt the pressure by our acrediting agency to undertake
assessment and for the most part believe it to have value. But quite
honestly, I'm not sure that what I do to try to set an example ("Lead") is
the most effective. I also find myself now much more interested in my
students learning than my teaching.
Any comments or suggestions you have would be appreciated. I imagine you and
your universities/departments are being asked/required to do other than
typical exams for assessment, and know how many good ideas have pasted my
eyes since I signed on to plant-ed a couple of years ago. I will summarize
the comments and post them after a couple weeks time for all to see. Please
be sure the word "Assessment" is in the subject line.
James W. Perry, Ph.D.
Campus Dean/Associate Professor of Biological Sciences
University of Wisconsin - Fox Valley
1478 Midway Road, P.O. Box 8002
Menasha, Wisconsin 54952-8002
home: (414) 836-9959
FAX: (414) 832-2674
e-mail: jperry at uwc.edu
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