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Produced by the Center for Teaching Excellence and the Student Committee on Teaching Excellence (SCTE), with input from the students of SUNY Plattsburgh. Vol. 1, issue 4. Read other issues
What is the best kind of assignment or exam for evaluating your learning?
Students were offered nine choices for this question: in class essays, take home essays, multiple choice tests, T/F tests, research papers, presentations, portfolios, oral exams, and projects. The results of the survey show that students have a varied preference, which affirms the established principle that assessment of student learning should be constructed to address different learning styles. Here are the survey responses:
The question to ask when designing assignments is: "What is the value of this as a report of learning and as a means to learning?" The very best assignments are those constructed with a clear sense of which objective the professor has in mind. If you are simply looking for a report of learning, you may opt for those in-class exams that literally test knowledge, and for those you must also determine what kind of knowledge you are testing: memorization, skills or synthesis.
If you want your assignments to do more than give you summative reports of learning, you may look for more creative approaches, such as projects, presentations, essays, research papers, and portfolios. If you are seriously looking to help students take responsibility for their learning, you might consider formative assignments that are ungraded. These types of assignments can give you the chance to offer constructive feedback that is separate from the burden of grading.
"Provide incentives for learning opportunities outside of the class - if it's relevant to the material it will help us to learn in a different context."
What gets rave reviews:
If you want to be successful, do this:
Don't do this:
Margaretha Wilcke, M.S.W., Ph.D., Associate Professor, Social Work
Margaretha received quite a few nominations that the SCTE found unanimous in praise of Margaretha's willingness to go the extra mile to help her students learn.
Excerpts from nominating submissions:
Margaretha, like the other Teacher of the Month award winners and nominees this year, has a foundational respect for her students that the students immediately respond to. She is able to build a relationship with her students that provokes them to become more engaged in their own learning. Margaretha's own words suggest a key element in her success: "I love teaching; I get excited when I teach."
She also grabs their attention by her ability to help students make relevant connections in their own learning. As she says, "I like to try to blend theory and practice by bringing in examples of my own experience or theirs. Experience needs to be tied to content and theory and so we ask, What does it mean? What are we going to do with it?"
The CTE Teacher of the Month coffee mug means that someone has been recognized by the SUNY Plattsburgh students for having created a valued teaching technique, a teaching style, or a teaching moment. Margaretha can do whatever she likes with hers.
For more information about the Center for Teaching Excellence, please contact:
Becky Kasper, Ph.D., Director
301 Feinberg Library, Plattsburgh, NY 12901
Phone: (518) 564-3043
Fax: (518) 564-5100