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Monday, May 11 • 2:05pm - 2:35pm
Alternative Assessments

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I'm a business administration instructor at Coast Mountain College that teaches Mathematics of Finance and Statistics among other courses. I started with the traditional model of assessment - give traditional written exams part-way and at the end of a course, and use that to determine a final grade. On a lark, I included a bonus question in one of my math exams: Draw a picture about your feelings and math class.

A bright student that performed well in classes and worked hard bombed this test. Her picture was a crying face with the words “anxious, frustrated.” This test, which was a direct application of knowledge, turned out to be a poor proxy for her actual abilities. It got me to consider two follow-up questions: a) Were my traditional exams actual indicators of success in math, and b) was there a way I could assess students to better align with the learning outcomes I was really interested in?

I’m engaging in an experiment in my next semester. I’ll be teaching statistics and I’ll be focused on non-traditional ways to assess my students. Specifically, I’ll be implementing statistics journals, student data-gathering, and the final assessment being a project where students, either individually or in groups, are to use statistical methods to find the solution to a problem and then justify their report in an interview, akin to a thesis defence.

The proposal for this presentation is to answer: why did I engage in alternative assessment in courses with traditionally classic assessments, what did I discover doing this, what were my failures doing it, and how can it be implemented in others’ classrooms? The presentation is intended to be a tell-all of the good and the bad of my alternative assessment journey, which is being done with the support of Coast Mountain College’s Centre of Learning Transformation.


Monday May 11, 2020 2:05pm - 2:35pm
Salon D
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