The item below is a nice synthesis of our thinking on the last 18 months of work in the Harvesting Gradebook. It was developed as a Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education (POD) Award application for the 2009 competition.
Author Contact Information
Gary Brown, Theron DesRosier, Jayme Jacobson, Corinna Lo, Nils Peterson
Center for Teaching Learning and Technology
Washington State University
Pullman, WA 99164
Innovation Award Description
Title: Harvesting Gradebook
Category of Innovation Award
Teaching and Learning
A grade book traditionally is a one way reporting mechanism. It reports to students their performance as assessed by the instructor. This model assumes and implies that students learn primarily from the professor and the professor’s grade.
The Center for Teaching, Learning, & Technology Center at WSU has developed, implemented and assessed an enriched gradebook that affords multiple stakeholders opportunity to assess student work and provide quantitative and qualitative feedback to students and faculty.
Nationally, efforts to integrate active learning, critical thinking and assess the outcomes have been elusive. Faculty’s experience and resources for providing students with feedback that contains multiple perspectives has been limited.
In our work with faculty at a land grant, research institution, faculty preconceptions tend to assume that undergraduates do not have the wherewithal to engage in constructive peer and self-assessment. Many doubt that rich feedback about authentic problems can be offered in any but a few select courses.
This innovation counters these assumptions. At heart is the WSU Guide to Critical and Integrative Thinking (CITR), an internationally recognized instrument and assessment process. We have previously shown that students appreciate and can provide rich peer assessments with the CITR, and that those assessments mirror judgments by faculty. We have further shown that online tools help facilitate the process.
In this phase of the innovation we extend the process to a distributed audience of students, peers, faculty in the program and industry professionals around the globe. The resulting feedback and ratings from each of these groups provides invaluable insight and a rich resource breaking the barrier between educational practice and the “real world.” For instance, reviewers provided insights into:
1. their perception of the value of the rubric‘s dimensions
2. the changes in employ-ability of the students based on the work
Scope and Results
We have piloted this Harvesting Gradebook technique in an undergraduate level market forecasting class and a similar Honors class. In the forecasting class, student teams received rating and textual feedback from peers, faculty in the program, and industry professionals at mid-term and again at end of term,
We observed that:
- students rated their work more highly than faculty who in turn were more generous than industry professionals.
- all three groups saw improvements in the students’ work in terms of critical thinking and employability
- industry professionals valued the critical thinking rubric dimensions and their appreciation of the rubric increased as they gained experience with the rubric
- individual faculty who did not value some criteria that industry professionals found extremely important, and
- the quantity and character of textual feedback provided by students, faculty, and industry, varied substantially, with industry comments more focused on problem-solving while faculty oriented toward correcting “problems” in the student work.
CTLT is presently scaling up its capacity to offer this grading/feedback approach University-wide and we are generalizing the idea of Harvesting Feedback to apply it to the Learning Outcomes aspects of WSU’s University Accreditation activities.
This process is effective and efficient way to gather rich feedback for students working on authentic problems. Students can work in any space on the Internet and post in their workspace a link to an online rubric for their purposes.
They can also send a request for feedback through email. Faculty can easily recruit industry participants and because the rating process is fast, the professionals can contribute without significant time cost. Results can be centrally harvested and reported to students and faculty in real time.