My standard (informal) course feedback form asks,

  1. What do you like or dislike about the grading system?
  2. How does the grading system affect your learning?
  3. What do you love about this course?
  4. What do you hate about this course?
  5. What would you change about this course?

The 2nd-year courses are less science and more engineering, so my approach is less inquiry and more project-based.  In particular, in the course they’re evaluating, there’s an independent project where students must define their project, set their own deadlines, set their own evaluation scheme, then grade themselves.  It’s worth a quarter of their grade.  I reserve the right to veto a mark, but I’ve never done it.  Here’s a sample of the feedback I got from 2nd year students last week.

1. Grading system

  • Love reassessment (2)
  • Feel dependent on ActiveGrade
  • Need quicker way of knowing when a test is corrected
  • Love the independent project
  • Make reassessment deadline start when grade is updated?
  • Ability to do skills on your own time.  But they can also pile up.
  • Clearly shows what you need to know
  • Retests help a lot with understanding because you know what you need to improve on
  • Showing improvement helps solidify thoughts

2. Effects of Grading System

  • Reassessing forces you to gain understanding instead of “I failed that let’s move on”
  • I can thoroughly explain certain circuits from my head, I could not do that before.
  • Helpful — I can choose to not finish a lab if I do not understand it fully, then ask questions and come back to it
  • I knew nothing about electronics before this course but skill based learning has really helped me understand many topics

3. Love

  • Reassessing forces you to gain understanding instead of “I failed that let’s move on”
  • Lab work — hands on feel
  • Making things work and understanding what they do
  • Freedom
  • Retests, doing something more than once makes remembering it easier.

4. Hate

  • Lack of info on notch filter (2)
  • Lack of time
  • Nothing

5. Change

  • Hands on – when you don’t quite understand something, lab work refines understanding
  • It’s a pretty refined, good system.  Once you know something, it sticks with you.
  • More time to learn.  3 years?
  • Reassessment deadlines