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Express Yourself: The Benefits of Individual Assessment in Undergraduate Education

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Abstract:

Most of us are at least somewhat familiar with the rich research tradition on individual learning styles and have gone to great lengths to incorporate this knowledge into our teaching. We use pictures and videos to appeal to the more visual learners, we design hands-on exercises to promote active learning and group exercises to form learning communities, we take our students out of the classroom to teach them service-learning, and we have created a classroom environment that is more interactive than ever before.

In light of such great progress, it is amazing how many of us still have a tendency to use the same cookie-cutter approach to testing our students’ performance in our courses. If we can agree that our students have different methods for learning, does it not stand to reason that they have different methods of reproducing this knowledge as well? And if so, are we doing our students a disservice by asking them to take yet another multiple choice/fill-in-the-blanks midterm or final exam?

This paper makes a case for more diverse assessment techniques within the same course, connecting our knowledge on individual learning styles to a theory of “individual assessment.” By allowing students to choose between different formats for participation, exams, and other assignments, we acknowledge their individual styles and allow them to show us what they really know as opposed to how well they take standard tests.

The author’s major claims are supported by empirical data based on three years of coursework at three different universities that illustrate the success of giving students choices, as well as preliminary findings from an experimental design that tests the connection between learning styles and students’ performances in different testing formats. Finally, the paper includes findings taken from a survey on students’ experiences with and hopes for different assessment techniques.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

student (135), learn (88), style (71), exam (65), test (57), choic (45), multipl (36), format (35), differ (30), assess (28), educ (27), pp (26), question (26), perform (26), measur (25), learner (24), vol (24), journal (23), essay (21), survey (21), class (20),
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Name: APSA Teaching and Learning Conference
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http://www.apsanet.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p245575_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Leithner, Anika. "Express Yourself: The Benefits of Individual Assessment in Undergraduate Education" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the APSA Teaching and Learning Conference, San Jose Marriott, San Jose, California, Feb 22, 2008 <Not Available>. 2013-12-15 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p245575_index.html>

APA Citation:

Leithner, A. C. , 2008-02-22 "Express Yourself: The Benefits of Individual Assessment in Undergraduate Education" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the APSA Teaching and Learning Conference, San Jose Marriott, San Jose, California Online <APPLICATION/PDF>. 2013-12-15 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p245575_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: Most of us are at least somewhat familiar with the rich research tradition on individual learning styles and have gone to great lengths to incorporate this knowledge into our teaching. We use pictures and videos to appeal to the more visual learners, we design hands-on exercises to promote active learning and group exercises to form learning communities, we take our students out of the classroom to teach them service-learning, and we have created a classroom environment that is more interactive than ever before.

In light of such great progress, it is amazing how many of us still have a tendency to use the same cookie-cutter approach to testing our students’ performance in our courses. If we can agree that our students have different methods for learning, does it not stand to reason that they have different methods of reproducing this knowledge as well? And if so, are we doing our students a disservice by asking them to take yet another multiple choice/fill-in-the-blanks midterm or final exam?

This paper makes a case for more diverse assessment techniques within the same course, connecting our knowledge on individual learning styles to a theory of “individual assessment.” By allowing students to choose between different formats for participation, exams, and other assignments, we acknowledge their individual styles and allow them to show us what they really know as opposed to how well they take standard tests.

The author’s major claims are supported by empirical data based on three years of coursework at three different universities that illustrate the success of giving students choices, as well as preliminary findings from an experimental design that tests the connection between learning styles and students’ performances in different testing formats. Finally, the paper includes findings taken from a survey on students’ experiences with and hopes for different assessment techniques.

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