I took the Evaluation of Learning course at VCC about a month ago. I found I gained the most knowledge out of this course in the PIDP program out of all the courses I’ve taken so far. The reason I believe I have gotten the most out of it is because, unlike other courses, I actually write exams for my course.
I’d like to first reflect on the concept of self-assessment. I chose self assessment since I haven’t done much of it in my life and I am uncertain how I feel about it. “Many learners are uncomfortable when asked to assess their own learning. They don’t know how to begin.” p. 111(Fenwick and Parsons 2009). Dr. Lori Desautels states that “Self-reflection is self-assessment, and one of the most significant learning tools we can model for our students.”. As I read some articles about self-assessment I came to the conclusion that reflection is a form of self-assessment. I have found the reflective writing through the PIDP to be challenging, but looking back I believe it has helped me to self-assess my progress through the course.
For one of the hot potato topics I’d like to reflect on group grades. I personally like group grades, but I have had push-back from students when I use group grades. I believe group grades flame cooperation between partners and encourage everyone withing the group to work that much harder. When it comes to group grades it takes a lot more form the instructor. The projects and participation need to be monitored more closely to ensure everyone is pulling their weight. I believe the reason I have had push-back from my students is due to the fact that the more diligent students end up doing most of the work, that’s where an attentive instructor comes in. I’m sure my students have had a bad experience with group grades in the past. Some interesting ways of marking group projects can be found HERE.
Finally I would like to reflect on how this course has impacted my thoughts on evaluation. Before this course I hadn’t given much thought to evaluation. While taking the course I came to realize how much of an impact evaluation has on a student. I can recall myself as a student in my apprenticeship and how stressed I was about the exam, oddly enough I wasn’t stressed about the actual learning taking place. I realize now how much of an effect I can have on my students. I need to stress that it is the learning that counts, not the evaluation. “High challenge, low threat” – Said by Bob Aitken (as far as I know).