Friday, May 2, 2008

Breakout Session: Assessing One-Shot Instruction

Jennie E. Callas, Randolph-Macon College

Interested in assessing teaching effectiveness.
She teaching introductory English classes
All freshmen take year-long interdisciplinary FYE course.
Students take Eng class along with FYE course.
Eng class has 5 required assignments, one of which is annotated bib.
Jennie was new at position and wanted to see how she was doing. Also she wanted students to think about the library instruction after the assignment was completed. Mostly Likert scale questions, with a few open-ended questions. She hoped to show results to instructors if she noticed that any part was particularly difficult.
Started in Spring 2006.
That first semester, she learned that students didn't know why they were doing assignment. Some said library instruction was too far in advance of due date. Some students thought particular types of resources are hard to find, so they wanted more time devoted to that. She suggested a follow-up Q and A session where students could ask questions about resources they were having difficulty locating.
Changes to assignment: Resources were divided into print and online. Newspapers were under print, but sources were online. Heading should be removed. She suggested they remove requirement to find scholarly article that isn't available in print. Also, clarifying corporate authors was important.

Fall 2006: Likert scores were higher
Spring 2007: Likert scores were a little lower, but that was since it was in the spring 40% had already had library instruction.
Fall 2007: Met with Eng instructors before semester began. Told them about evals, timing, etc.

Changes: Some instructors are willing to make changes, others less so. Professors have taken advice on how to explain assignment, and some bring classes to class more than once. She has changed the way she approaches spring classes if cohort has already been there with FYE class.

Benefits of post-assignment assessment: Helps students reflect on whole process. Provides faculty with evidence of difficulties.

Jennie provided some great ideas for assessing teaching. I really like the idea of assessing instruction after the assignment was due, because then students really understand how the session influenced the product. Very cool ideas!

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