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Formative assessment in higher education: Moves towards theory and the enhancement of pedagogic practice

The importance of formative assessment in student learning is generally acknowledged, but it is not well understood across higher education. Formative assessment is often more complex than it first appears. It can be formal or informal, performed by peers or by educators. The central purpose of formative assessment is to contribute to student learning through the provision of information about performance, as opposed to summative assessment whose purpose is to find out what a student knows.

Original Article Publication Date: 06/01/2003

Three Guidelines and Two Workarounds for Tackling Makeup Exam Policies

Deciding on policies for make-up exams can be a difficult question for a teacher to tackle. They create more work, place teachers in an awkward place of judging the truthfulness of students excuses, and make it difficult to maintain fairness. These five tips will help you to succeed in making your policies as fair and as easy as possible.

Original Article Publication Date: 03/22/2019

Evaluating Students’ Evaluations of Professors

Often times, there can be some misleading data about student evaluations of professors. For example, students may not rate a professor on how much they learned but rather how much they liked the class or how easy they thought it was.

Understanding Your IDEA Student Evaluations and Helpful Tips For Improving Your Teaching

IDEA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving student learning in higher education through analytics, resources, and advice. The resources provided here will help you to understand the student evaluations you receive from IDEA as well as provide some useful tips for improving your teaching and your student evaluations.

Colleges Are Getting Smarter About Student Evaluations. Here's How

Student evaluations have been used as a basis for promotion and recognition in academia for years, but research shows that student evaluations are full of biases and do not accurately reflect the quality of instruction received. Some universities are seeking to improve the way their evaluations and the way they make tenure/promotion decisions.

Original Article Publication Date: 01/13/2019

How One Instructor Stopped Himself From Lecturing Too Much

Lecturing is a teaching tool as old as education itself, but it's value is being questioned more and more. When does lecturing become too much, and how can you stop yourself from crossing that line? Keywords: Intentional learning, Course Design, Student attention, retention

Original Article Publication Date: 01/17/2019

Matching Learning Outcomes to Assessment

Learning outcomes describe the measurable skills, abilities, knowledge and values that students should be able to demonstrate as a result of a taking a class. Often our courses are designed in ways that make it difficult, if not impossible, to allow students to physically demonstrate mastery of their skills and abilities. Instructors often have to rely on exams to assess knowledge a student has gained and to demonstrate their mastery of a subject. Writing effective learning outcomes and connecting our learning outcomes to specific assessment questions allow instructors to track a student's mastery.

Universal Design for Learning

Dr Tom Tobin's keynote address from the 2018 Empowering Teaching Excellence Conference focused on Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Dr. Tobin introduced five strategies to reach more students and make your teaching more accessible. He also introduces the idea of +1 thinking. Included is a summary of another presentation by Dr. Tobin from the conference and a summary of a third presentation focused on accessibility and tools available to professors.

Original Article Publication Date: 09/01/2018

Guidelines for Assessing Student Learning

Effective assessment design enhances student learning, and engages students with different learning styles. Assessment influences what a student interprets to be the important learning goals for a course. This article, from Brown University Harriet W. Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning, provides a set of guidelines about designing assessments that promote students’ learning.

Let's teach for mastery -- Not test Scores

Sal Khan shares his plan to turn struggling students into scholars by helping them master concepts at their own pace. He discusses the idea that many students don't enjoy topics like math because they never learned or mastered basic steps needed for more difficult equations. Missing these critical steps early in the process can hinder a student's ability to learn more challenging material. When learning to play a musical instrument students are required to master material before advancing to more difficult material.

Original Article Publication Date: 11/01/2015

Student Perceptions of Teachers’ Nonverbal and Verbal Communication: A Comparison of Best and Worst Professors across Six Cultures

This study focuses on students from six countries and what forms of communication the best and worst teachers showed.

Original Article Publication Date: 01/01/2010

Feedback without Overload

To learn well, students need to use their learning and receive high-quality feedback. But who has time to give a lot of great feedback? Explore how to super-charge the student’s learning environment with productive feedback without burning out.

How One Email From You Could Help Students Succeed

Zoe Cohen, an assistant professor at the University of Arizona, saw an increase in student effort and improved grades after sending personalized emails to struggling students. This article highlights the effectiveness of "nudges", actions that encourage but do not mandate a course of action, in education.

Original Article Publication Date: 09/21/2018

The Learning Pyramid

The Learning Pyramid model shows what types of teaching/learning are most likely to be retained. These methods include lecture, reading, audio-visual, demonstration, discussion, practice doing, and teach others. A brief description of each level of the pyramid is provided.

Creating a Rubric: Tutorial

This website comes from the University of Southern Florida and is a great resource for creating an effective rubric. This page addresses what a rubric is, why a rubric should be used, and the steps to creating a rubric.

What the Student Does: Teaching for Enhanced Learning

The college classes of today are larger and more diverse than ever before, which can make maintaining academic standards difficult. This problem becomes more tractable if learning outcomes are seen as more of a function of students’ activities than of their fixed characteristics. This article explores this topic and also suggests two methods of organizing the teaching/learning context so that all students are more likely to use higher order learning processes: problem-based learning and the learning portfolio.

Original Article Publication Date: 11/01/1999