The distance between the first day of class and finals is huge. There’s a lot of teaching and learning that needs to happen during that time for students, teachers, and colleges to be successful. For professors already overburdened with large class sizes and workloads, ensuring that students are engaged throughout their entire time in a course is an important responsibility that can easily slip through the cracks.
In a perfect world, students who are struggling in a course would come straight to the professor for help. In the real world, faculty members can’t assume that students will be proactive in either recognizing problems or seeking help for them.
To better engage students, you need to recognize how they’re doing throughout a course. A bad score on a final is too late. Embedded assessment is a useful tool that can help faculty members better assist struggling students.
The magic of embedded assessment happens when faculty and institutions start using the harvested data to help improve student outcomes and engagement.
Here are three ways you can make use of embedded-assessment data to help students succeed:
Provide personalized feedback to each student. Students often know they’re not getting something, but they don’t know which parts of the subject they need to focus their studies on to improve.
Students presented with personalized, detailed feedback at regular intervals throughout a course can turn that information into action. Knowing their specific strengths and weaknesses lets them take more responsibility over their study habits and learning outcomes.
Students with an interest in succeeding will find value in the ability to track their progress on key issues and concepts. For certain personality types, being able to tackle a specific problem with a goal in mind is one of the best ways to drive greater engagement.
Base assignments on specific student needs. A student who has already mastered a concept will find doing further work on it boring, while one who knows additional work is needed in that area will take the assignment more seriously. A good faculty tool for embedded assessment will give you a nice snapshot of class trends. Hopefully, this will enable you to create three or four assignments that will cover the needs of most students.
Proactively work with students starting to fall behind. This step involves a more direct effort from faculty members than the previous two. A student who is having difficulties comprehending course material runs the risk of giving up on it altogether.
If faculty members can identify when this is happening, they can provide focused student-remediation efforts. Some students just need a little extra help that is tailored to their particular challenges and needs. Embedded assessment can help you find those students and help them overcome their issues so they can reengage with the material.
Greater student engagement won’t just lead to improved student success in individual courses. A student who is able to actively track his or her progress throughout a program is more likely to stay engaged and graduate. By giving students more power over their personal progress and learning outcomes, embedded assessment can help schools increase student-retention rates.