Naomi Jeffery Petersen provides great advice in the essay “Cybercoaching: Rubrics, Feedback, and Metacognition, Oh My”: “The instructor must decide what and how to communicate the assessment to best serve the student’s readiness to develop further” (7). This concept of not just preparing the assessments, but also presenting them in a way that is purposeful for students really focuses on the significant role assessments play in students’ education. Dealing with each student as an individual, as opposed to a one-size-fits-all approach works to move students along when they are ready. For instance, through the use of cybercoaching, students work through each step of what they need to learn. Once students master one item, for example, the instructor/coach continues the coaching to move students to the next level.
As we move students through the stages of learning, rubrics are a great way to assess students because they provide a focused understanding of grading criteria. According to Petersen,“The advantage of developing a completely articulated analytic rubric that describes each criterion in concrete terms for recognizing insignificant to proficient work is that the teacher has a common language for discussing the issue with students” (8). This language should be used in the cybercoaching sessions, and it helps the student gain a clearer understanding of the assessment criteria, particularly in writing courses, where subjectivity seems to abound.
Just like cybercoaching and rubrics can helping the learning process, self-assessment helps students gain a clear understanding of how their own learning is progressing. By having to assess oneself, the metacognition of the task helps students acquire a sense of their own strengths and weaknesses and then work accordingly. Petersen clarifies, “Students are asked to self-assess their drafts by looking for descriptors that apply to their drafts. . . . The goal is to foster self-assessment and self-regulated learning” (9). This type of learning is exactly what we want students to achieve. Something that isn’t accomplished in a vacuum (only in school), but something that they will continue to do throughout their lives.
Ultimately, the goal is to help students by making learning as authentic as possible. One last way to work toward this authenticity is to provide a beginning of the course survey to let students know that we instructors are interested in them and their goals. I have created an example for a community college freshman composition course here. My objective is to let students know that I am truly interested in working with them and that I am listening intently on how the class can be significant for their goals.
Petersen, Naomi Jeffery. “Cybercoaching: Rubrics, Feedback, and Metacognition, Oh My!” E.C. Moore Symposium: "Putting Student Learning First" Indiana University Purdue University, 25 Feb. 2005.
Hi, my name is Lisa, and I am an English professor at a community college in Southern California. This blog is my way of tracking my progress in my Assessment in E-Learning course (EDUC 762) for the University of Wisconsin, Stout's E-Learning and Online Teaching Graduate Certificate program.