Do you find traditional assignments and grading structures in conflict with your learning goals? Concerned about your current feedback model? Want to learn more about alternative assessment models? Please join us for a virtual GLCA-CTL Conversation on “Ungrading” on Wednesday, Dec. 14 at noon (Eastern). For many years now, faculty have been assessing students in ways that deviate from traditional practices, sometimes abandoning A-F grades, sometimes assigning grades based on “contracts,” “specifications,” self-assessment, or various “authentic” assessment techniques, among other methods. Books by Susan Blum (Ungrading), Linda B. Nilson (Specifications Grading), and Joe Feldman (Grading For Equity) are part of a burgeoning literature on the topic. Now you can hear from some GLCA faculty who have used “ungrading” techniques in their own classes. Register here for the Conversation on Ungrading, Wednesday, Dec. 14 at Noon (Eastern).
Teaching and Learning
How Instructors Are Rethinking Late Work (Beckie Supiano, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 1, 2022): While some instructors have gone back to their pre-pandemic policies, most professors the author interviewed said the pandemic had made them think more carefully about how to formulate late-work policies that are sustainable for them and equitable for their students; also, information on rethinking finals.
Deficiency Mind-Set Bedevils Developmental Math (Ben Weng, Inside Higher Ed, November 30, 2022): Colleges should design pathways to meet students’ different preparation levels and goals rather than foist algebra on everyone in the name of numeracy. Read along with: Why I Enrolled in Developmental Math (Ashley Flood, Inside Higher Ed, November 30, 2022): the author writes of enrolling in a developmental math course and convening a study group to help students who had failed before find success.
How to Defuse a Classroom Conflict: Make It More Complex (Caroline Mehl and Jonathan Haidt, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 30, 2022): Five practices to help students break through all the binary thinking.
Three Ways to Prime Students for Learning (Stephen Addison, November 30, 2022): Are there parts of your course you wish could be taught more effectively? Would you like to prepare students for learning material with which they tend to struggle? Do you want to help students transition effectively from one learning activity to another? Priming your students will provide solutions to these questions.
Five Things To Do During the Grumpy Times of the Semester (Donald A. Saucier, Noah D. Renken, and Ashley A. Schiffer, Faculty Focus, November 28, 2022): Generally speaking, try empathy and make reasonable accommodations.
Learning Through Teaching (Harvey J. Graff, Inside Higher Ed, November 23, 2022): We can’t understand faculty teaching and student learning without our reciprocal learning as faculty from often informal, even indirect, teaching by our students.
If Machines Do the Writing, Students Will Stop Doing the Thinking (Jane Rosenzweig, Times Higher Education, November 23, 2022): AI is close to being able to write students’ essays for them. But that will not help them understand why they think what they think. (Registration required)
Exams and Grading
If It Was Good Enough for Socrates, It’s Good Enough for Sophomores (Molly Worthen, New York Times, December 2, 2022): Oral exams test college students’ intellectual agility, normalize nerves and foster freer discussions.
Tackling the Stack (Daniel Cole, Inside Higher Ed, April 20, 2022): Tips for how to grade student essays efficiently and with integrity. (Thanks to Lew Ludwig’s Tuesday Teaching, Tech, & Tidbit for resurrecting this good piece.)
Equity and Justice in Higher Ed
Faculty Diversity and Student Success Go Hand in Hand, So Why Are University Faculties So White? (Jinann Bitar, Gabriel Montague, and Lauren Ilano, The Education Trust, November 30, 2022): Black and Latino faculty are severely underrepresented at most public 4yr colleges and universities, a new downloadable report argues, and examines ways to improve faculty diversity.
A Race-Neutral Way to Recruit Diverse Students (Katherine Mangan, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 29, 2022): A nonprofit is helping colleges connect with students capable of handling rigorous coursework by letting them take free classes.
Does Diversity Improve Grades? (Adrienne Lu, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 22, 2022): What the research says about the benefits of racial diversity on academic performance.
In Defense of the Liberal Arts
UK Should Adopt US-Style Majors System (Kwame Anthony Appiah, Times Higher Education, November 29, 2022): A “bit of this and a bit of that” education is more effective training for a world of many opportunities, Appiah argues.
The State of Higher Education
A Rare Survey of Faculty Morale Shows That the Pandemic’s Effects Continue to Ripple (Megan Zahenis, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 1, 2022): Research on professors’ well-being trailed off after the first year or two of Covid. But a new study suggests their stress levels remain high.
The Incredible Shrinking Future of College (Kevin Carey, Vox, November 21, 2022): The population of college-age Americans is about to crash. It will change higher education forever.
The Long Read
Education as the Heart of the Struggle for America (Henry A. Giroux, Tikkun, November 22, 2022): In an age of social isolation, information overflow, a culture of immediacy, consumer glut and spectacularized violence, it is even more crucial to take seriously the notion that democracy cannot exist or be defended without critically literate and engaged individuals. At stake here is the courage to take on the challenge of what kind of world we want to build for our children.
On the Bookshelf
Kyle Spencer, Raising Them Right: The Untold Story of America’s Ultraconservative Youth Movement and Its Plot for Power (Harper Collins, 2022): Covers the long campaign of the far-right to attract young people, using colleges campuses as their battlefield. Excerpt in Rolling Stone.
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