Why Assessment Data Really Matters for Undergrad Students

January 18, 2017 Kristen Hicks

It would be ideal for every professor to get ample one-on-one time with every student who needs it. If only you could guide each of them through their studies to help them not only gain the knowledge you need to impart for the course, but also gain the skills they need to become better learners.

That would be nice, wouldn’t it?

Instead, most professors are overwhelmed by teaching classes of a hundred or more students and balancing the needs of those students with the added pressure to perform and publish original research. Perhaps no one should be surprised that more than half of the country’s undergraduate students fail to get a degree within six years, if they ever get one at all.

Professors can’t provide one-on-one time to hundreds of students each semester, but they can provide the kind of personalized feedback and reporting that helps make up for that. ExamSoft’s assessment data allows for better reporting that focuses on insights rather than just grades. It can’t give you more hours in the day, but it can enable you to more efficiently help your students during the hours you have.

Easy Personalized Feedback

You don’t have to meet with each student individually to give them meaningful feedback. ExamSoft creates automated reports as you grade each assignment that go beyond providing students a grade, instead making it easy for you and your students to really dig into the insights behind the grade that they need to understand.

A score of 80 on an assignment tells your students something, but seeing the breakdown of how they performed in specific subject areas, question types, and competencies tells them much more.

As a professor with hundreds of students, providing each of them that kind of detailed information is difficult, unless you’ve taken the time to define those categories in advance. With that part done, ExamSoft does the rest, releasing reports with thorough analytics that help your students understand clearly where they’re performing well and where they need the most work.

Make Connections between Past and Present Work

No one assignment exists in a vacuum. Understanding the progression of how your students learn is as important as knowing how they do on each individual assignment. When it can be hard enough to remember individual students’ names, how can you expect to also remember how well they did from one assignment to the next?

ExamSoft’s reports don’t just show you the detailed assessment analytics for one exam or assignment; they let you see how a student’s learning progresses over time. You can see if students have significantly improved in an area they were struggling with, or if they’re still having trouble with the same types of questions or concepts they had a hard time with on day one.

Early Warning Signs for Students Who Need the Most Help

Some of your students will inevitably have an easier time in the class than others, and those who struggle need your help the most. Assessment data helps you recognize the signs of that struggle early enough to step in and help. That direct intervention can help increase retention and reduce DFW rates.

This isn’t just a hypothetical. At the University of North Texas, one professor using ExamSoft managed to reduce DFW retention rates by 27% and increase retention. So much of what students struggle with can be helped if professors are able to see the need in time and know the particular type of help to provide. Assessment reporting and analytics put that knowledge within reach.

 

 

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