STLHE 2015 has ended
Achieving Harmony: Tuning into Practice
Thursday, June 18 • 1:45pm - 2:45pm
RTD.21 - Would you prefer bento or buffet? Two systems of flexible grading

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Between fully self-regulated learning, in which individual students and their instructor negotiate and agree on all aspects of assessment (e.g. tasks, methods, weightings, timelines, grading criteria), and traditional assessment systems which are completely instructor-based and uniform, there are many potential flexible grading systems. Zarzeski (1998), Cook (2001), and Pacharn, Bay, and Felton (2013) provide models and show that student engagement/learning increases under flexible grading. I will present two other such systems which I call “bento” and “buffet”: each allows students choices which increase motivation and allow self-reflection on academic abilities, while not significantly increasing instructor time required to implement assessment. I developed both systems for use in Literature courses beyond the freshman level with criterion-based grading, some of them large classes with Teaching Assistants. In the bento system students have identical assessments and due dates but choose from weighting options, while in the buffet students choose from a list of assessments and also assign their own due dates and weightings in the final grade. I find little change to the grade curve in the bento box system. Diligent students may achieve slightly higher grades using the buffet system, though procrastinators tend to suffer: the grade curve flattens slightly. Students report more engagement and satisfaction with the buffet system, and it is the one I prefer. 

Cook, A. (2001). Assessing the use of flexible assessment. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 26(6), 539-549. 

Pacharn, P., Bay, D., & Felton, S. (2013). The impact of a flexible assessment system on students' motivation, performance and attitude. Accounting Education: an international journal, 22(2), 147-167. DOI: 10.1080/09639284.2013.765292.

Zarzeski, M.T. (1998). The use and benefit of flexible student contracts. Issues in Accounting Education, 13(3), 585-594.

Thursday June 18, 2015 1:45pm - 2:45pm PDT
Bayshore Salon ABC

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