November 8 Day 245: Comparison

The last group oral assessment I administered required 10.5 hours (21 groups of 2-3 students each for a 30 minute time slot) plus another hour or so for uploading comments. That might seem like a lot but for comparison consider today—I have been grading the individual online assessment from last week. I’m about halfway done and so far I have averaged 5-6 student submissions graded per hour. At this rate, it’s going to take me 10.5 hours to finish and I won’t be done until well into tomorrow. And it is not nearly as pleasant an experience as the oral interview. There is no human interaction. There is no opportunity to clarify fuzzy ideas. There is no refocusing off-task energy. And it is essentially the SAME AMOUNT OF EFFORT on my part.

People have been asking how I am able to commit so much time to oral assessments. My new response is “it’s not really all that different.”

For oral assessments, I prioritize time during the work week to complete the task. For written assessments, I am working entirely on the weekend and on my own.

What is the take-home lesson here? I must figure out a better way to administer individual assessments remotely. Currently I use a mixture of online responses through the course management system and uploaded supporting materials. Answers without justification are not sufficient but the supporting materials are not taken seriously. They read more like chicken scratching than coherent thoughts. Next week I am thinking of administering the quiz online as a file download with a single submission of all work as a pdf. That will minimize the jumping back and forth on my part and perhaps give greater value to the written word to be uploaded.

Time to get back to it. I’d like to finish another 15 student submissions before my eyes can no longer stay open. Wish me luck.

Published by Jenny Quinn

Mathematician. Mother. Wife. Leader. I am a professor of mathematics at the University of Washington Tacoma. Mother of Anson and Zachary. Wife to Mark. President of the Mathematical Association of America.

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