First lesson learned – complete the blog post closer to the session as I am struggling to remember this session!
The topic and activity evolved around grade descriptors. I have done a lot of work on the explanation of these in my teaching as I often find students just can’t decipher these. However, it’s my opinion that the major issue behind this is that unless they can relate it to the subject or assessment they are learning it doesn’t matter how many times you explain they need a context.
Interestingly, I felt the same when doing the exercises in this session. Having an example as a measure would have helped because the criteria is not used in isolation it is used to measure the performance of a piece of work. It made sense to only consider a few in the exercises as we all agreed that some of the differences between the grades were marginal.
At the end of the session we all did a short presentation in groups and then graded ourselves on the scale using 3 descriptors, mine is below.
I used one of my lectures where I explain grading criteria to students as this seemed appropriate for the session (2 example slides below). One of the participants is an academic support tutor and she found this very useful as she often coaches business school students.
Once we had written our own descriptors we then used our own measures to critique our performance. Our peers in the group used different coloured post it notes to measure.
What I learned is that some of the criteria is hard to measure for certain tasks. I guess I knew this but it was a different experience when it was me that was being measured. We had chosen 3 descriptors; analysis, communication and presentation and collaborative and/or independent professional working.
Personally I scored highly in the latter 2 and less so in the analysis. The suggestions to improve the analysis were examples of what good looked like. I am always reticent to show students previous years work for fear that the brief has changed or that they copy but it made me realise it would be good to have a ‘dummy’ piece of work or possibly an example from a different brief. This would allow me to demonstrate the evidence of the grading criteria. I am planning to try this going forward.
The rest of my group embraced my solution of how to explain grading to students and thought it was a great idea. I have had feedback from my students that they like this too and can use to it refer back to when they are unsure of what is expected from them.
My group also felt that I had evidenced collaborative working well as I have effectively already re-written grading criteria (which was what we were doing in the session) for the very same reasons we were doing it.