Link to jeanne's birdie calendar. Defining Measures of Learning

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Definitions and Standards


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Created: December 24, 2001
Latest Update: January 29, 2001

Measures of Learning

This file offers guidance for you on how to measure your learning in ways that will best reflect your learning style and strengths. If you have any difficulty with understanding this process, please come by our office ( SBS B 336) in the first few weeks for help. jeanne

Grades can be important feedback when they are collaborative and used to guide further learning. They are harmful when they become reified ends in their own right, when they become commodified. (References: Alfie Kohn and James J. O'Donnell) This section describes the ways we provide for you to let us know what you have studied and learned.

Our overall grading criteria are based on competence, communication, consistency, cooperation, and creativity, and . Your coursework must show scholarly discipline in conceptually linking your learning to theory, policy, practice, and to course readings and discussions, with appropriate citations to academic sources, and to effective sharing of your thoughts as you shape them. Learning comes from an exchange of ideas, not from memorizing what someone else thought, and not without the challenge of others' arguments.

  1. Grading Standards with Examples:
    Competence, Communication, Consistency, Cooperation, and Creativity

    1. Competence

      The five Cs continue to represent our standards for evaluation. We expect your work to be competent, meaning that it should reflect a minimum acquaintance with the preparations materials. No off the wall definitions of "forgiveness" will satisfy us. Your work must reflect an understanding of your readings and class discussions. Competence, for us, is indicated by your ability to merge what you are reading and discussing in class with your own thought systems and beliefs. To indicate that you are competent you need to reflect to us that you understand the concepts and issues we have introduced.

      We will help if we can. For example when Joanna Carillo tried to explain agency and structural context, she was confused in her application of the concepts. We drew pictures and gave explanations, and added Michael Planck's comments. All that helped all of us understand the concepts more effectively. Read Joanna's and Michael's dialog on this at Academic Discourse on Agency and Structural Context.

    2. Communication

      We expect each of you to communicate with us, so that we come to know you and your learning. Anyone can follow a reading list. Meaningful learnings come when we stretch the corners of each others' minds by looking at these concepts from the multiple perspectives that come from our myriad unique experiences.

      This is very much a part of measuring your learning, for we cannot know your learning without a narrative context in which to situate it.

    3. Consistency

      We expect your work to show consistency. It is not acceptable to send six writings in at once and then not communicate for weeks at a time, for that does not give us a narrative we can follow of your learning growth. It is through dialog that we learn, and a dialog does not work well when no one speaks for weeks.

    4. Cooperation

      Our emphasis on cooperation reflects our philosophical commitment to mutuality and peacemaking as reflecting a potentially realizable reversal of the adversarialism with which humans once faced survival in the natural world. We respect and value the generosity of spirit in seeking ways to serve the whole community, not just its elite or advantaged members.

    5. Creativity

      Creativity is shown by giving specific evidence of the way in which a concept or issue is affecting you. Look at Tina Juen's reaction to Henry and Milovanovic's transformation and replacement discourse.

      We insist that you write, because writing is still important to communication and affords a richness of experience we think higher education should afford you. I insist that you e-mail your contributions, and keep them relatively short so that I can give them the attention I think matters.