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Dr. Laura L. Runge
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LAE 6389.001 Practice Teaching Literature

Class 9: Evaluation and Assessment

Reading Assignment:

    McKeachie, chaps. 7-11
    Marisa Inglesias: TBA
    Jamie Kinsley: Reed, Shannon L. and Stavreva, Kirilka. "Layering Knowledge: Information Literacy as Critical Thinking in the Literature Classroom." Pedagogy 6.3 (2006): 435-54.

    Post #5 Group A

Class Objectives:

    Matching Learning objectives and outcomes
    Student presentation: Literature Review - Marisa and Jamie
    Student Presentation: Syllabus Check - Precious and Christine
    Assignment: Group evaluation of purchased student paper

Notes and Discussion Questions:

McKeachie, Chapter Seven: Assessing, Testing and Evaluating: Grading is Not the Most Important Function

McKeachie presents nine premises at the start of the chapter that are thought provoking. What do think is feasible for your classroom?

#3 Use some nongraded tests and assessments that provide feedback to you. How might you do this? Do you think this would be helpful for you as a teacher?

#4 Check your assessment methods against your goals. Are you really assessing what you hoped to achieve: for example, higher order thinking? This is an excellent question and McKeachie provides some ideas for evaluating your testing against your objectives. How might this help you structure your assignments? Your grading weights?

#6 Assessment is not synonymous with testing. What does this premise mean for you?

How will you incorporate self-assessment into your class? Do you think it is worthwhile to train students to do self-assessment?

Chapter Eight: Testing: the Details

Many of you plan to incorporate tests (or quizzes) in your syllabus. How might the advice in this chapter help you plan this more effectively? Did this chapter give you new ideas about inventive ways to use tests.

Dr. Gould has one of most innovative methods of testing I've seen for literature. If he lets me I will show you how he does it. See his course on Victorian Novel for examples of assignments.

After reading McKeachie's advice, what new things did you think about in terms of grading the exams?

What might you as an instructor learn about the class from a test?

Chapter 9: Tests from the Students' Perspective

What strategies might you develop to increase student performance on your tests?

Feel free to use and adopt my workshop on writing good essay exams (in course documents).

Chapter 10: What to do about Cheating

We have been discussing cheating for a while. What does this chapter offer you in terms of practical information and advice for why students cheat, preventing cheating and dealing with cheating?

Chapter 11: ABC's of Assigning Grades

If we look at grading as communication, McKeachie suggests, four important points become apparent.

    1. Evaluation is a great deal more than giving a grade: more comments needed, more audiences intended
    2. What a professor means by a grade depends on how it is received by the graded
    3. Professors cannot change the meaning of grades unilaterally
    4. The meaning of grades has changed over the past 50 years; whereas a C used to be average it is now more accurate to think of a B as average
What do these points suggest to you? How does this affect the way you assign grades?

Can you see a point to using both contract grading and competency grading styles?

How are grades related to learning?


Active learning and discussion

Grading a Student Paper

For the second part of this grading assignment, you will be responsible for getting one of the obtained papers and grading it. Please evaluate and grade this paper the way you would a paper for the literature class you are planning. The objective of this exercise is to make us aware of our own evaluating tendencies and principles and to share these with others so as to learn 1) other possibilities and 2) the range of acceptable and unacceptable methods of evaluating literary essays.

The groups chose the following selections:

    Group 1: Marisa, Quentin, Vivian and Ann -- Carver paper

    Group 2: Amy, Ginna, Marie and Jamie -- Yellow Wallpaper paper

    Group 3: Christine, Kristi, Susan and Lina -- Langston Hughes paper

    Group 4: Shannon, Precious and Sara -- Glass Menagerie paper

These papers will be posted to the Teaching Group discussion board for you to download.

When we get to class, I will ask you to compare your evaluation and grading. I would like to devote a good amount of time to this so that you have the opportunity to really examine the process of evaluating and become self-reflexive about your own principles. Then we will share our results with the group.

I will also report back on how the papers passed through SafeAssignment.

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