Effortless English Archives

Automatic English For The People

Monday, August 08, 2005

Vindication? Sort Of

by AJ

After two weeks of ranting against midterm exams and cursing my students terrible performance I just found out that all of my classes "beat" the overall mean/median.... ie. they outperformed the other classes who took the same exams.

So, is this good news (ie. vindication for the comprehensible input methods Im using) or bad news (ie. my students crappy scores represent the best in the department, ugh!).

While Im happy that my students did well relative to the other classes (most taught with more traditional methods)... Im still not thrilled with the exam system. What, exactly, is the point of creating an exam that most students do badly on? Make them feel foolish? Motivate them to study harder?

Luckily, I finally have a class (International Program students) where I have complete autonomy... Im the only one teaching the class and therefore the only one who decides how the students will be evaluated.

Here's what I decided:

Attendance: 30 points
Participation: 20 pts
Individual Project: 75 pts
Blog & Comments: 75 pts
Final Exam: 100 pts

The final exam will cover the two required outside readings... Harry Potter I and Harry Potter II.

The project will be a research project that will include a paper and presentation on a topic chosen by each student.

Blog- Each student is required to create a blog and post to it once per week. They are also required to comment on two of their fellow students blogs each week. Ill put links to my students blogs on this site... check them out and give them encouragement!

Finally, a note about classroom management. Cleve had several excellent suggestions about moving students towards autonomy... and it boils down to classroom management (rather than methodology). I admit that CM is an area I frequently neglect- its probably my weakest point as a teacher.

And so I now have a project of my own... learn how to effectively manage my classes.