TLISI 2019: Grading with Intention: Addressing Bias and Other Assessment Challenges
Gregg Zitlau, Heather
In this session, presenters examine three common assessment challenges and share practical strategies for reflecting on and dealing with each. The session is geared toward professors and teaching assistants who desire to increase transparency, consistency and fairness as they grade various aspects of their students’ work. The first challenge is halo bias, which refers to the fact that “teacher expectations can influence the way in which a student’s performance is interpreted” (Batten, et al., 2013). In other words, an instructor might unknowingly be harsh or lenient when grading due to an overall impression of a student or the quality of a student’s prior work. The second is fairly assessing group work, a cornerstone of cooperative learning that is widely encouraged in education pedagogy, but which can be a challenge to grade because often “the work of the individual is lost in the product of the group” (Nordberg, 2008). The third challenge is assessing class participation. While many instructors have a "feeling" for good versus inadequate participation, it can be daunting to translate that perception into a criterion-based assessment tool. Attendees leave with raised awareness of these assessment challenges and with tools and strategies to address them in their teaching contexts.
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