Module 4: Assessment

 

Assessment

 
In this module, you’ll learn about the various roles assessment plays in STEM learning. Module developer Angela Little provides a number of strategies for designing effective assessments of student learning. The module includes several writing activities intended to help you start to apply the principles and practices shared in the videos.

Please see the Facilitator Guide 2015 for Module 4 for some suggestions of activities you can do in your MCLC or classroom to dive deeper into these topics.

Types of Assessment

 

Video 0.4.1 – Week 4 Introduction

Dr. Derek Bruff from Vanderbilt University and Dr. Trina McMahon from the University of Wisconsin introduce effective assessment techniques.

Discussion: Take a few minutes to write about a time when you felt proud of an accomplishment in STEM (e.g. research project or course assignment) and then again in a context outside of STEM. Describe the kind of feedback you received during those processes. Who did the feedback come from (peers, mentors, mentees, instructors, a large group/audience, students, parents, coaches)?


Video 4.1.1 – Introduction to Assessment and Feedback 

Dr. Angela Little from the University of California Berkeley and a group of graduate students from the University of Colorado Boulder discuss their experiences with useful vs unhelpful feedback.

Video 4.1.1 Slides


Video 4.1.2 – Feedback Cycles 

Dr. Angela Little from the University of California Berkeley introduces the concept of feedback cycles and the differences between student centered feedback cycles and instructor centered feedback cycles.  In addition, Dr. Sarah Wise from the University of Colorado Boulder discusses types of assessments that allow the instructor to provide useful feedback to students, using formative and summative assessments as examples.

Video 4.1.2 Slides


Video 4.2.1 – Traditional Assessment and Multiple Choice Questions 

Dr. Angela Little from the University of California Berkeley and others address how traditional forms of summative assessment may not effectively address the learning goals and objectives that instructors have provided to students.  They use Bloom’s taxonomy as a basis for discussion on how traditional forms of assessment can be modified to align with an instructor’s learning goals or objectives.

Video 4.2.1 Slides


Video 4.2.2 –  Bloomifying Assessment Questions 

Dr. Angela Little from the University of California Berkeley discusses how Bloom’s Taxonomy can be used to create multiple choice questions that address higher order thinking rather than just memory recall.  In addition, Dr. Mel Sabella from Chicago State University discusses research regarding differences in student responses to multiple choice vs open ended questions.

Discussion: As mentioned in the video, one strategy for generating multiple-choice questions higher up on Bloom’s Taxonomy is to ask students to analyze real (or fake, but plausible) data sets. Describe a research paper or other source of data that you might be able to adapt into an multiple-choice question for an introductory course in your discipline. What might that assessment question look like?

Video 4.2.2 Slides


Video 4.3.1 –  Importance of Open-Ended Problems 

Dr. Angela Little from the University of California Berkeley introduces the importance of open ended problems in higher education.

Video 4.3.1 Slides


Video 4.3.2 – Open-Ended Questions: Focus on the Student, Peer Assisted Reflection 

Dr. Angela Little from the University of California Berkeley and others introduce the concept of peer assisted reflection (PAR).  They discuss how PAR can provide students with a higher level understanding of a topic as well as receive useful feedback from peers.

Video 4.3.2 Slides


Video 4.3.3 – Open-Ended Questions: Focus on the Student, Adapting Traditional Problems 

Dr. Angela Little from the University of California Berkeley and others provide strategies concerning how instructors can adapt traditional homework problems or assignments to give students a deeper or higher level understanding of the concept while keeping them engaged in the assignment.

Discussion: In the video, we learned that many students underestimate the amount of time it takes to solve math problems. How might you use open-ended problems to provide students with feedback that would help them revise this expectation and develop the persistence they’ll need to succeed in math? What other incorrect expectations do students have that could be addressed through open-ended problems and related feedback to students?

Video 4.3.3 Slides


Video 4.4.1 – Open-Ended Questions: Focus on the Instructor, Strategies 

Dr. Angela Little from the University of California Berkeley and others provide strategies for drawing out student ideas and misconceptions that will help instructors create effective assessment and feedback tools.

Video 4.4.1 Slides


Video 4.4.2 –  Open-Ended Questions: Focus on the Instructor, Case Study Part 1 

Dr. Angela Little from the University of California Berkeley talks with a first time TA about her experiences in eliciting student ideas.

Video 4.4.2 Slides


Video 4.4.3 –  Open-Ended Questions: Focus on the Instructor, Case Study Part 2 

Dr. Angela Little from the University of California Berkeley talks with a first time TA about her experiences regarding how she was able to improve her tactics for eliciting student ideas during subsequent teaching experiences.

Discussion: In your own teaching or tutoring experience: Have you ever struggled with wanting to give students “the answer?” Do you have some general strategies around when you choose to lead students and when you choose to step back?

Video 4.4.3 Slides


Video 4.4.4 –  Open-Ended Questions: Focus on the Instructor, Planning for Student Responses

Dr. Angela Little from the University of California Berkeley and others discuss how instructors can utilize student ideas to plan effective instruction.  They also discuss how to create a classroom environment in which students feel comfortable sharing their ideas while the instructor is still able to correct misconceptions and effectively convey concepts to the students.

Discussion: Which of the strategies mentioned in the video for working with student ideas surfaced during open-ended problems appeals to you? What other methods might you use to respond meaningfully to student “ideas in process”?

Video 4.4.4 Slides


Mindsets

 

Video 4.5.1 – Growth Mindset and its Role in Practice and Feedback: Introduction to Mindset

Dr. Angela Little from the University of California Berkeley and others introduce the concept of student and instructor “mindsets”.  They discuss how instructors can use praise and feedback to change student mindsets from “fixed mindsets” to “growth mindsets” using the idea that intelligence in malleable.

Video 4.5.1 Slides


Video 4.5.2 – Growth Mindset and its Role in Practice and Feedback: Integrating Growth Mindset

Dr. Angela Little from the University of California Berkeley and others provide strategies for integrating the concept of growth mindsets into instruction.  They discuss the advantages of creating a climate in which students feel as though they have the ability to learn anything even if they originally did not have confidence in a certain area of study.

Discussion: Consider how you approach learning in your discipline? Do you have a growth or fixed mindset? Has that changed over time? If so, what led to that change? Are there other areas in your life where you have different mindsets?

Video 4.5.2 Slides


Video 4.5.3 – Growth Mindset and its Role in Practice and Feedback: STEM Skills and Study Rubric

Dr. Angela Little from the University of California Berkeley introduces a tool to help instructors support students in identifying areas in need of improvement as well as identify strategies for providing constructive feedback to students.  She goes on to discuss this tool with an instructor that uses this tool and a student who has experience with this tool.

Video 4.5.3 Slides


Video 4.5.4 – Growth Mindset and its Role in Practice and Feedback: Student’s Decisions to Major

Dr. Angela Little from the University of California Berkeley discusses the information students use to determine which field of study they would like to enter.  She also addresses how the student’s mindset can influence their interpretation of that information and affect their decision.  Finally, how the mindset of the faculty the students interact with can affect their decision as well.

Discussion: Given the importance of helping students develop growth mindsets, how might you do so through assessment activities, both formative and summative? What might be challenging about changing one’s students’ mindsets from fixed to growth?

Video 4.5.4 Slides


Video 4.6.1 –  Research Based Surveys: Concept Inventories 

Dr. Angela Little from the University of California Berkeley and others introduce the concept of research based surveys.  She mentions several different types of surveys instructors can use to get feedback from students to improve their instruction.  They go on to describe the first type of survey known as concept inventories.

Video 4.6.1 Slides


Video 4.6.2 – Research Based Surveys: Using Surveys in Practice

Dr. Angela Little from the University of California Berkeley and others discuss how they use research based surveys in the courses they teach.

Video 4.6.2 Slides


Video 4.6.3 – Research Based Surveys: Attitudes/Beliefs Surveys 

Dr. Angela Little from the University of California Berkeley and others introduce surveys that identify student’s attitudes and perceptions regarding a field of study.  They discuss the advantages of moving students from a “novice-like” perception of a subject to an “expert-like” perception as well as how this transition can be made.

Video 4.6.3 Slides


Video 4.7.0 – Feedback Codes 

Dr. Angela Little from the University of California Berkeley and others introduce the concept of feedback codes.  They discuss how instructors can develop codes that correspond to a common comment that applies to multiple students.  This allows the instructor to provide a significant amount of feedback on assignments without significantly adding to their workload.

Video 4.7.0 Slides


Video 0.4.2 – Week 4 Wrap Up

 

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