Session Descriptions


Seven Layers for Deep Learning: Research-based Guidelines and Strategies for Improving Assessment, Feedback and Grading – Tom Angelo

How much would you trust a physician, engineer, athletic coach, or nurse who did not keep up with and apply lessons from relevant research in his/her field?  Or one who could not apply basic principles of good practice to new situations, with new client populations, or in using new technologies?  Probably not much. Yet many faculty and academic administrators alike remain (relatively) unaware of current research on assessment, feedback and grading and on the potential relevance of that research to our daily practice. This interactive session will explore seven research-based guidelines and provide examples of simple, powerful applications to improve teaching effectiveness and student learning in and beyond our (virtual and actual) classrooms.

Workshop Sessions

How Well Are Students Learning What We’re Teaching? An Introduction to Classroom Assessment – Tom Angelo

This workshop will begin with a brief review of what Classroom Assessment (CA) is, how it works, and how it can help students become more independent, effective learners. Throughout, it will provide participants with hands-on practice using at least six simple, flexible CA techniques to assess students’ learning and to help them assess and improve their own learning. It will also share lessons learned from experienced teacher-assessors and practical guidelines for success – dos and don’ts — based on nearly a decade of field-testing, as well as materials and resources for follow-up. By workshop’s end, participants will be prepared to try at least two or three new techniques for assessing – and improving – their students’ learning.

Experimenting with Specifications Grading, a New Approach to Learning and Assessment – Jason Mittell and Peter Johnson

Traditional approaches to grading assignments produce many frustrations, ranging from grade inflation, to students who ignore feedback, to poor or obscured connections between grades and actual learning. Specifications grading, a new system articulated by Linda Nilson, focuses on assessing demonstrated learning outcomes through two linked processes: designing assignments based on tiered learning goals, and evaluating assignments on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis to reflect whether specified criteria are met. Professors Pete Johnson and Jason Mittell will present their course designs and experiences this spring using specification grading in Computer Science and Film & Media Culture courses, respectively, and will consider how changing methods of assessment can lead to more successful teaching and learning.

Faculty Panel: Innovative Teaching and Assessment Practices

This panel will highlight four approaches to everyday challenges of grading and assessment. Ellie Gebarowski-Shafer will share her experiences of using a digital camera to improve student oral presentations; Jeanne Albert will discuss her use of a portfolio approach to grading; Matty Woodruff will explain the value of flexibility in due dates on assignments with students; and Daniel Houghton will discuss how he approaches assessment on collaborative projects.

Harnessing Cats and Colts: Linking Classroom Assessment and Collaborative Learning Techniques – Tom Angelo

Engaging students in productive group work is critical to deep, lasting learning—but also very hard to do well. Likewise, formative assessment can contribute greatly to learning by providing early feedback, but it can also be difficult to manage and time consuming. In this interactive session, participants will consider and experiment with simple, practical, and mutually supportive classroom assessment techniques (CATs) and collaborative learning techniques (CoLTs) that can make teaching and learning more engaging, efficient, and effective.


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