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Monday, 9 February 2009

An end to Grades?

I recently saw a post which caught my imagination from The Daily Collegian. This is an area which has troubled me for a long time. How, exactly, will Teaching, Learning and Assessment change with the use of e-Portfolios?

I quote a section from the article:

"O’Brien added that the growing use of e-portfolios have dramatized the potential for tools other than grades to convey what students have learned.

"Other concerns with letter grades, according to O’Brien, include to potential for grade inflation to take away from the reliability of grades and the concern of consistency with grading as more students are taking courses at multiple colleges, including colleges overseas.

"Maribeth Clark, Provost of the New College of Florida, offers a system in which students must work out a contract with a faculty adviser each semester.

"The contract outlines which courses should be taught and how success will be measured. Professors contribute to a record of the student’s success, without using grades. According to Clark, at New College, dislike of the traditional student transcript is so great that the college does not even send them out. Students are in charge of sending out their own records when applying to graduate school.

"At Fairhaven College, students don’t receive grades either. They participate in a two-way evaluation process with professors for every course, and for their major and degree programs. The students evaluate their own work first, then their professors follow with their own evaluation and then the two have a much involved discussion. Many assignments also feature self-evaluation, as students complete a paper and also write about what they learned from the process of writing the paper or how the assignment did or did not work for them."

So what is happening in the UK or elsewhere?

  1. Will e-Portfolios encourage the use of the Project approach?
  2. Will we see students having to plan their own work schedules?
  3. Will collaboration actually help learning?
  4. Will 'anytime access' to teachers by pupils increase their workload?
  5. Will formative inputs from staff help in sumative assessments?

If you have any opinions or suggestions please comment!

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