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A long lapse

December 13, 2010

I had a very busy semester and couldn’t keep up with this blog. I found that teaching a new course with a new book did not leave me a lot of extra time.

At the end of the semester, I did some item analysis on a couple of end of semester tests to determine whether they were accidentally holding back students who should pass. The answer in one case was yes. 3 items on one reading final had 1, 1, and 3 correct respondents out of 12. These results strongly suggest the test penalizes students. One of my first tasks during the break is to rewrite the items to see if the test can be made fairer in the future.

I probably should have done this years ago. I didn’t so now I have to move on. This type of data can help make tests better, but I now need to find ways to collect better data during the semester to give more immediate feedback to students.

One thing I will be working on with my teachers next semester is developing rubrics for the writing classes. We have worked with a kind of general understanding of what we expect in each of our classes since I have been here. Now, it seems like it isn’t enough for either teachers or students. My plan is to gather some rubrics and share them along with using rubrics a teacher uses to develop our own for the program. Next, we can include these rubrics in materials for the students. My newest teacher says she has rubrics for each paragraph she assigns. This enables students to know what will be evaluated for each paragraph. Since we tend to evaluate according to what we have taught, this makes even better sense.

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