According to researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, self-affirmation is the process of identifying and focusing on your most important values. Doing this can boost problem-solving abilities, the researchers claim.
“An emerging set of published studies suggest that a brief self-affirmation activity at the beginning of a school term can boost academic grade-point averages in underperforming kids at the end of the semester.
Showing 30 posts tagged grading
A new research study finds that widespread use of media among freshman college students may compromise academic performance.
Researchers determined that freshmen women spend nearly half their day — 12 hours — engaged in some form of media use, particularly texting, music, the Internet and social networking. Investigators discovered that media use was generally associated with lower grade point averages (GPAs) and other negative academic outcomes.
However, there were two exceptions as newspaper reading and listening to music were actually linked to a positive academic performance.
photo via flickr:CC | Jason A. Howie
It’s a conversation most faculty would rather not have. The student is unhappy about a grade on a paper, project, exam, or for the course itself. It’s also a conversation most students would rather not have. In the study referenced below, only 16.8 percent of students who reported they had received a grade other than what they thought their work deserved actually went to see the professor to discuss the grade.
Even though faculty might not want to increase the number of grade conversations they have with students, there is an interesting question here. Why didn’t more students come to talk about the grade they didn’t think they deserved?
Tammy Gibbons, director of school performance, said those results from the committee’s research pinpoint the problem well: “They show that evidence in the classroom isn’t matching what the students know.”
Because teachers began noticing these kinds of discrepancies, the school district last fall undertook the revamping of its entire grading system.
Are you advanced, developing, or early in your adoption of technology at school to prepare your students for the future?
American college students get plenty of flack for being a pretty lazy lot. Research shows that many don’t study as much as they should, they complain about professors asking them to actually think and participate, and they refuse to stop checking Facebook in class. Well, the latest research from University of California at Merced sociology professor Laura Hamilton, reveals that the less money parents pony up for a student’s college education, the better students do in school.
Hamilton’s paper, which appears in the latest issue of the American Sociological Review, tapped longitudinal data from three federal databases and analyzed the amount of money parents contributed to their child’s education and the resulting grades. She found that students who had more financial support from their parents had lower GPAs than those with less support. Money coming in from other sources—like work-study jobs and financial aid—didn’t have a negative impact.
photo via flickr:CC | stevendepolo
No matter how hard you try, you realize there’s a good chance you’re grading some students more harshly than they deserve, and giving others more credit than they deserve. This doesn’t have anything to do with favoritism (a whole other problem), but with human error and weakness. Your temperament and disposition change over the hours or days you spend grading an assignment. In fact, your frame of mind can change in moments for any number of reasons: Five weak essays in a row can put you in a foul mood; fatigue can set in; a too-hot or too-noisy room can set your nerves on edge. Maybe you’re suddenly reminded that you have only 48 hours left to finish clearing out your deceased parent’s apartment. How can any teacher be confident that his or her assessment of student work is always fair and accurate in the face of such vagaries? An essay that earns a B+ at one moment might earn a B- the next day. It shouldn’t be that way, but any honest teacher will admit it’s true.
Read more. [Image: Michael 1952/Reuters]
Wisconsin has begun to improve its education policies, but it still has much work to do. The state has adopted meaningful educator evaluations, but it must take the next step and link student performance, educator performance, and district personnel and salary decisions. Wisconsin must also prohibit seniority from driving layoff decisions. Wisconsin parents have options available, including an opportunity scholarship program for low-income students, but public charter schools are significantly restricted and accountability is weak. The state should also empower parents with meaningful school performance information so they can make better choices. Wisconsin would also benefit by expanding state and mayoral authority to intervene in low-performing schools and districts. Finally, the state should no longer lock teachers into the existing outdated pension system and should instead offer a more attractive, portable retirement option.
In the end, instructors who wield grades should try to understand how they work, since incentives have the power to help or hinder learning. “We create and foster these anxieties in students because ultimately it’s good for business,” says U of T’s Dr. Mount, “But that’s not really what they’re there for, and that’s not what I’m there for.”
photo via flickr:CC | LShave
When we talk about educating our way out of the skills gap, the discussion tends to focus on how we funnel more students into science or technology majors or helping current workers gain in-demand skills. But companies aren’t just looking for employees with specific content knowledge and skills. They want folks with “soft skills”—emotional intelligence and social graces—too. So if we need to educate and train the next generation to be ready for the 21st century workforce, should colleges be emphasizing and giving grades on those too?
photo via flickr:CC | ex.libris
Generally the arguments against giving all students an A seems to stem from a main presupposition: that all students cannot succeed at a high level, that the purpose of grading is a process of selection. The idea, when pressed, seems to be both vague and deeply held and is usually exposed by phrases like, “That’s just the way it is,” or, “All students do not have equal abilities.” The philosopher R.G. Collingwood would call this an absolute presupposition of which he wrote, “people are apt to be ticklish in their absolute presuppositions” meaning they don’t enjoy being confronted about them. Imagine if teachers were called into the Dean’s office and the conversation went something like this: The fact that many of your students are only reaching an average level of work and comprehension is a reflection of your ability to facilitate learning — what can we do to improve it?
“What if we acted as if the students have never been as prepared as we wanted, nor will they ever be as prepared as we wish?” How would that assumption change instructional practices?
Do we know how these point systems affect students?
If we could get rid of technology, would we?