Friday @ the Center
February 4, 2011
Middle of the Year
It is hard to believe that we are halfway through our middle quarter (at least those of us on a nine-month contract). The 16 faculty members who are part of the New Faculty Seminar are a joy to work with and make me feel that I am still part of a regular academic conversation. Thanks!
Speaking of which, this week we read an excerpt from Mark Schwehn’s (1993) Exiles from Eden: Religion and the academic vocation in America. Mark is the Provost at Valparaiso University and Project Director of the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts. In this book, he asks his readers to consider how they view the roles of teaching, shaping character and research in their academic vocation and how the practice of an academic vocation might look differently for those who hold the values of faith, humility, self-denial, charity and friendship. Small book - big ideas. I recommend it.
As we reach mid-quarter, please remember to give your students the opportunity to provide “two likes and a wish,” or any other way you would like to get informal feedback .
The School of Psychology, Family and Community has formalized a new initiative for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Part of their goal is to educate the SPU campus and local communities regarding the challenges faced by individuals living with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. February 15, 2011, from 7 p.m.– 9 p.m. in DH 150 they will host Dr. Heather Carmichael Olson who will discuss Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Please see the IIIODD website for more information on this work.
If your department or school has a speaker or program to which you are inviting the campus and community, please feel free to passinformation about the event on to me.
The following grants are available. If you are interested in these or investigating other possible external grants, please contact Laura Lundahl in the Grants office.
Category: Undergraduate Research
National Science Foundation
Category: Workforce Development
Department of Health and Human Services
Category: Undergraduate Enrichment
National Endowment for the Humanities
Reflective Formative Assessment/Assessment for Learning
Do you ever finish grading mid-terms, see that the students weren’t learning the material the way that you thought they were, get that apple core feeling in the pit of your stomach and realize that you have to change the way you are teaching? Turns out, the process by which we use student assessment as feedback to change classroom instruction and promote further student learning is known as formative assessment. Rather than wait for the “egg on the face” moment, teachers using assessment for learning continually look for ways in which they can generate evidence of student learning, and they use this evidence to adapt their instruction to better meet their students' learning needs. They also push their students to partner in the learning process so that there is a shared responsibility for learning.
Paul Black and Dylan Wiliam published a seminal work in 1998 on this topic. Our own Art Ellis in the School of Education has also done major work in this area. Here are a handful of recommendations. If these piqued your interest, you can read more about this in Art’s work or Black and Williams publications.
- Make learning objectives and their criteria for success transparent to students. For example, as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, circulate work samples, such as lab reports or papers, to prompt a discussion about quality. Students can then analyze what's good about the good ones and what's lacking in the weaker ones.
- When asking students questions, listen not only for their answer but how they got there. Ask students questions that either prompt students to think or provide teachers with information that they can use to adjust instruction to meet learning needs.
- Have students create reflective assessments. Ask students to create “I learned” statements at the end of the class. You can then collect them to look at what exactly students did capture as part of the class. These “I learned” statements then creates a bridge to the next class, using the students’ feedback to help shape the lesson plan for the next class session.
Bond, J., Evans, L, and Ellis, A. “Reflective Assessment,” Principal Leadership. February 2011, PP. 32-36.
Margaret Diddams, Ph.D.