Monday, April 06, 2020

The Not So Obvious Agenda in Assessment

I was at a meeting today about some assessment stuffs.  It was one of those meetings where people look at assessment info and decide if the course gets to keep its qualification for GE.

One course was flagged because every student in the course met the goals.  That's a problem, a colleague said.  They should tell us how and why they're doing that.

It's a small upper-level course, I said (well, not in these words, since it was on line and all, and it seems like it would be a problem if the instructor weren't reaching most students with this rather modest goal.

And the other person wanted more information about the meeting the goal thing, because they suspected it couldn't be so.  It might be that the faculty member wasn't doing more than clicking a number.  Which could be, of course.

So, I understand, but what I want to know is, what's the secret number that will or won't provoke Professor A's suspicion?

There's really no answer.  But 100% for sure, unless there's a good explanation.  Though the form didn't ask for any explanation like that.

It's one of those things where, ideally, everyone would be aiming for 100%, but if you get there, suddenly you're suspect.  Damned if you do, damned if you don't.  Frustrating!


  1. Perceptive observation of a Catch-22 in course assessments. I recall a shared, similar view of student evaluations of teachers and courses. If student evaluations were uniformly enthusiastic, the course must be too easy, the teacher must be playing to the galleries, etc. etc. Conclusion: the best teachers always get some bad evaluations.

  2. Oh, interesting! I can easily imagine that. I'm glad we don't tend to do that, though, because I've got some colleagues who are super charismatic.