Assessment of assessment

About three years ago I got interested in ‘clickers.’  The name made me skeptical, it just does not sound right, kind of like ‘one shot’ library classes (a term that needs to go away).  Anyway, here is me and my ‘clicker.’

Photo on 5-21-13 at 10.44 AM #2

I began using clicker technologies with gusto.  During the Spring of 2011 I used clickers in roughly 50% of my classes.  Our university does not require students to use clicker so it was necessary to tote them from class to class, pass them out, and hope students used them.  Perhaps I did not use them correctly, but the results were not too terribly revealing.  Yes, you can pre and post test during a class, but that is superficial assessment (in my humble opinion).  Self reporting is not enough to provide any kind of meaningful assessment, or at least so says my colleague Neal Allen. While clickers are not entirely self reporting, the data gathered is influenced entirely by the kinds of questions the instructor asks.  I will not rant about methodology at this point, although although it is tempting.

Assessment needs to happen, but a lot of work has to be done in order to get meaningful results.  I am currently finishing research that has evolved over the past year that involves assessing whether or not my instruction actually mattered.  Hopefully it did.  Instead of clicking to the answer I had to slog through the IRB process, ask an instructor to provide grades on the assignment that I instructed on, run SPSS, and so on and so on.  Now if only the paper would write itself.

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About Nicholas Wyant

I am the Head of Social Sciences at Indiana University Wells Library. I am responsible for Political Science, Criminal Justice & Social Work. In addition to my subject areas I also study student's interaction with technology. Recently, I have altered my methods from a sociological perspective to an anthropological one.
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