Achievement and outcomes

Assessing Students’ Group Work

When you consider what types of assessments to include in your courses, you may include group projects in your palette of options. However, if you haven’t yet used these group projects as a means of assessing student learning, you may want to ask yourself the following three questions as you design the activity. These points, gleaned from McKeachie’s Teaching Tips: Strategies, Research, and Theory for College and University Teachers,Fourteenth Edition(McKeachie and Svinicki 2014), will guide your efforts and help you determine an optimal way of assessing what students learned as they completed their work.   1. What, exactly, Read More…


What to Consider When Planning Assessments in Online Courses

In many respects, teaching online bears many similarities to a traditional on-campus course. You need to deliver your course content, create assignments that build student learning, and design assessments that measure student learning. However, there are several factors that require you to approach your plans from a different angle. One such factor—how to assess learning—may weigh particularly heavy on your mind, because the ability to accurately assess student learning, while maintaining standards of academic integrity, is such a crucial part of your role as an instructor. Below, we provide some answers to three questions instructors commonly ask Read More…


I’m Teaching, But Are They Learning?!

Guest Contributor: Bridgett McGowen-Hawkins, Senior Professional Educator, TeamUP Cengage Learning Peer-to-Peer Faculty Development.   Does this sound like you?: Each day, you walk into the classroom with a plan in mind. You know what you want and need students to learn by the end of the session; how do you know, though, if your hard work paid off, if all of the planning you put into preparing for the class was time well spent? How do you know if learning actually took place?   When I first started teaching, I thought the only way to check for learning and understanding Read More…


Adaptive Learning Technology Enhances MindTap Cengage Learning and Knewton Partnership

As Education Dive notes, “Adaptive learning is a hot area in education right now,” largely because it promises the ability to provide a learning experience tailored to the specific needs of individual students, measure the efficacy of specific learning activities, and offer recommendations for increasing the levels of student engagement and achievement within each specific course.   Many instructors may, in part, be drawn to this promise because it speaks to their own challenges as educators. In a recent research study, faculty were asked: “What are some of the “pains” you experience teaching your courses to students?”. In response, 73% Read More…


Deploying Formative Assessment in Accounting Principles

Most accounting instructors spend a significant amount of time on summative assessment when evaluating students. However, less attention is afforded formative assessment of student learning as a diagnostic tool that provides feedback for decisive instructional intervention. Documentation of formative classroom assessment can be of value to instructors who wish to show tenure committees that activities to improve instruction are taking place. In fact, this study was initially undertaken as a response to such a request by the author’s tenure committee and now serves as the basis for an ongoing dynamic assessment plan that provides valuable feedback for instructional improvement. Institutionally, requirements are in place to administer student evaluations of instructors near the end of each course. Results of the student evaluations are provided to faculty upon completion of the semester and while these ratings are used by instructors for formative purposes, they are also used by administrators when evaluating faculty. This study attempts to lay the ground work for an effective formative assessment plan that augments the institutional student ratings and provides evidence driving constructive classroom instruction.

Read More…


Addressing Math and Test Anxiety

In your role as an instructor, you’ve probably seen the the detrimental effect that math or test anxiety can have on your students. And if you haven’t observed this for yourself, perhaps you’ve experienced test anxiety other forms of anxiety in your own life. Either way, you likely recognize that anxiety rarely, if ever, produces any positive results. In fact, it can hinder people from taking part in beneficial and meaningful activities, can rob them of the enjoyment of a potentially pleasurable activity, and can keep them from performing to the best of their abilities. If you would like to Read More…


Choosing and Constructing Test Questions

Though there are, indeed, a myriad of ways to assess your students’ learning, tests remain a fairly common method of doing so. And when you’re designing a test, you also have several options for question types. Choosing which types of questions to write may be one of your more significant challenges. Creating a test structured exclusively around essay questions may prove time consuming to grade. On the other hand, crafting a test completely from multiple-choice questions would certainly take less time to grade, but you would learn a limited amount about students’ depth of understanding. Therefore, creating your test is not Read More…


Course Redesign, Online Learning, & Assessment in Developmental English

An Interview with Annie Todd, Product Director, Cengage Learning. Over the past few years, many institutions and states have embarked upon course redesign initiatives, particularly in Developmental Math and English courses. In the case of Developmental English, such efforts are typically accompanied by the integration of reading and writing courses into a single, combined course. Annie Todd, who has been working in the Developmental English discipline for the past seven years, has been part of this course redesign evolution. Jeanne Heston recently caught up with her to learn more about the projects that she has helped to drive over the Read More…


Online Learning and Assessment in Math Courses

An interview with Gary Whalen, Editor, Pre-calculus & College Algebra, Cengage Learning.  Do you remember your very first college math class? If you graduated from college more than 15 years ago, you probably used a calculator to complete your course work, along with scratch paper and a lot of pencils. And if you were working on Calculus homework late at night and reached an impasse, there was no one to call for hints or direction. If the course was a 6- or 8-week summer course, the issue was compounded by the fact that you did not have much time Read More…


Teaching Shorter Summer Courses: Focus on Outcomes

As this term comes to a close, you may find yourself looking ahead toward teaching a summer course. Though you may still find that you encounter many of the same challenges teaching during the summer months that you would otherwise, it can also pose its own unique challenges. Among them, you may find that students find it even more difficult to focus on being in class when they’d like to be enjoying a summer break, or that you have less time to get them up-to-speed with course content. One of the other challenges that can be unique to Read More…