Profile cover photo
Profile photo
Bret Benesh

Post has attachment
I have one more thing to report about this year: inspired by +Drew Lewis, I wrote a Python script that automatically sends out progress reports via email to the students. I started off sending them weekly updates, but I switched it to daily reports by the end of the semester.

This was huge for me, since it dropped the number clerical errors down to zero, since students could see if I made a mistake. I had used an LMS (Canvas) to report this before, but Canvas was so limited that it could not give a full report. I am extremely happy with this program (thanks, +Drew Lewis!).

See for more details.

Here is my summary for 2016--2017: my main problem with SBSG has been about perception---both the students' perceptions and the faculty's perceptions. Some of my colleagues have been skeptical of my use of SBSG largely because of student complaints, so these are related.

My discovery this year is that I figured out exactly where SBSG is working and where it is not. I found out that my pre-service elementary education majors really, really do not like SBSG, but my students in all of my other classes mostly do like it. This is still a bit of a problem because I love teaching pre-service teachers, and I am working on fixing it. However, I am very relieved, since I had thought that this was a problem with all of my classes.

I found this out by looking over my student surveys from previous years more carefully. In fact, I found that 14% of my students this semester love SBSG, 56% like it, 14% don't like it, and 7% hate it (the rest are neutral). I think that this is a reasonable breakdown.

So: I now know where to direct my energies.

I have a colleague who also uses SBG-type grading, and several students have complained to our department chair that our grading is not fair.  Specifically, they are complaining that we are not giving them enough reassessments to succeed.

My personal opinion is that they do have enough (they could literally go from a 0 to an A over the course of two days next week), but I am also trying to make sure i am not delusional.

I have spent 2--3 classes talking to them about this over the course of the semester, and I had them calculate their current grade using my criteria at mid-semester, but that did not seem to solve everything.

My (possibly delusional) take:  the issue is that SBG is very transparent, and it makes it clear when students aren't understanding the material.  This is really a feature, but it is causing problems for me right now because students cannot be comforted by the thought "The type of problem that I don't understand probably won't be on the final."

Have other people experienced this?  Do you have any suggestions? 

Post has shared content
+Kate Owens does a great job describing Standards Based Grading.
"In my office, conversations are almost always about mathematical topics instead of partial credit..."--one of the results of Kate Owens using Standards Based Grading. Find out more about SBG in her post on the On Teaching and Learning Mathematics blog
Add a comment...

Post has shared content
This sounds like a good place to work.
PSA for math folks: My department at +Grand Valley State University is hiring for a tenure-track position. The application deadline is just 10 days away! If you're on the market, please consider applying -- it's a truly amazing working environment for people who care about undergraduate education. If you're not on the market, please retweet/reshare/get the word out. 
Add a comment...

Post has shared content
Some of you know that I'm currently working on a book tentatively titled Flipped Learning in the College Classroom: A User's Guide for Stylus Publishing, that should be out in 2016 or early 2017. One of the things I want to highlight in the book is how flipped learning can look like lots of different things and can fit into many different disciplines. So I'm soliciting the stories and use cases of any college instructor out there who is using flipped learning, to include in the book. I've set up the Google Form below for people click in and tell me about what they're doing. If it stands out, then I'll try my best to get your name, institution, and story into the book somewhere.

Please pass this along to any of your colleagues who are using flipped learning design, too. (Just community college, college, and university instructors though and not high school teachers because the book is targeted toward higher ed.) Thanks! 
Add a comment...

Hi everyone,

I am +Bret Benesh, and I am at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University in Central Minnesota.  I have been using something akin to SBG since Fall 2010, and I just started integrating aspects of specifications grading into my courses this semester.

Thanks to +Robert Talbert for getting this going!

To the specs grading people:  I have some students who are seriously digging themselves in a hole by not completing routine things like daily homework.  They can make these up by using a token, but they only have five; many are going to need more than five to catch back up.  If they do not catch up again, they can only get grades that are strictly lower than a C for the semester.

So here is a plan I want to float:  perhaps I could sell tokens to students.  The cost would be that they would have to provide more evidence of learning to get a certain grade.  Right now they have to demonstrate each learning objective four times; perhaps they would need to demonstrate 3--4 learning objectives five times in exchange for one token.

Why is this stupid to do?  Why is this a good idea?
Add a comment...

Post has shared content
I am less than two weeks away from presenting to my senior colleagues on how to evaluate instructors who do not lecture. 

My best leads so far are RTOP (thanks, +Aaron Weinberg) and Wieman's

Are there other ideas?
I am in charge of helping lecture-based mathematics professors at my school learn how to evaluate non-tenured professors who teach using non-traditional methods (mostly IBL or a flipped classroom).

Does anyone have any advice or sources to help me?   How are non-tenured people at your school evaluated if they teach in a non-traditional manner?
Add a comment...

+Robert Talbert and +Theron Hitchman  (and anyone else using Specs Grading):  do you allow students to trade unused tokens in for anything at the end the semester?  If so, what can they be redeemed for?
Add a comment...
Wait while more posts are being loaded