Midterm assessment: My turn

This entry is part 29 of 45 in the series Teaching Transparently

APRIL 2, 2009: When we last checked in with the adventures of HISP 205-09 I had received their anonymous informal assessments of the class. And I reported back to them, verbatim, their comments (the comment from one of my students? “Wow, you showed us that? Usually the teacher keeps that stuff to himself, ‘specially the bad stuff”)

Indeed, it didn’t feel great to read and then report about some of the negative stuff, but if I was going to show them that their voice mattered, and that I would indeed respond to what the majority wanted to have happen, then I had to share that info back with them. I pulled together common threads and strands, and then I asked them if that seemed like an adequate assessment of how they felt. Lots of head nods. And then (as shown in the last post) we re-tooled, we planned a new line of attack, and we turbo-ed back into the course.

But the assessment them was not over yet. Simultaneous with their informal assessments of me, I had prepared informal assessments of each of them and handed them out as they handed me their evaluations of me.

Here was the format I used…

My thoughts on your participation in class conversations:

My thoughts about your participation on the blog:

General comments:

Ball park estimate of what your grade would be right now based on all of the above:

I felt weird about the “grade” part, but I wanted to accomplish two things… acknowledge that they were doing work in a variety of areas for this class… and that there were strengths and weaknesses in all of them (just as they had shown me about my work in the class).

I also wanted to give them a benchmark, a starting point, to see what my grading scale kinda sorta looked like. I come from the school of thought where a C is average and a B-is above average…a sentiment that is NOT shared by my students…insert horrified looks here)

As we will later see, the grade I suggested mattered little, but the assessment and the suggestions I made on their work in their class, for some of them, was like a wake-up call. It demonstrated rather convincingly that I may not be interjecting myself on their blogs (I almost never did) but I was reading (as many of their readers also were) and I was observing… and I was also there to prod, cajol, push, nudge, remind, and celebrate them along the way, both in class, but also in our once a week 15 minute meetings in my office.

The semester is halfway over. And the best is yet to come.

Up next: final projects, setting goals, and the tasks ad the timelines to meet them

Series Navigation<< Ending the semester, lessons learned (Part 1) … (of what will be many)Informal Assessment, Disruption & Repair: Making change happen. >>

Barbara has been working for a small liberal arts college in the cornfields of Ohio for about 15 years. In addition to teaching Spanish she runs a somewhat unconventional language center. Prior to this adventure in higher ed she taught high school Spanish and loved it. She wishes she had more time in her life to play with her dogs, write, read, swim, do yoga things and watch the Red Sox. Preferably not all at once, although that could be interesting. To see her online portfolio please click here!

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