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Teaching Institutes | Storrs 2011

Assessment of students and evaluation of courses!

On Friday, January 14th, 2011, the Institute for Teaching & Learning welcomes you to a day of teaching and learning workshops. We look forward to lively discussions and the opportunity to share ideas.



8:30 - 9:00 Center for Undergraduate Education (CUE) Atrium

Check-in, pick up packets and name-tags at registration desk

9:00 - 9:05 (CUE 122)

Keith Barker, ITL


Session I - 9:05 - 10:15 (CUE 122)
"Multiple Choice Questions"

Megan Welsh

Handout #1
Handout #2
Handout #3

Effective teaching hinges on instructor's ability to determine what students have and have not learned. This workshop will focus on the benefits and drawbacks of different assessment strategies and will suggest techniques for developing high-quality multiple choice items. The session will address: how to design a test that is aligned with instruction, how to write multiple choice questions that require higher-order thinking, and item writing techniques that can be used to limit students' ability to guess the correct answer.

Session II - 10:20 - 11:10 (CUE 122)
"Methods for Assessing Students in Large Classes"

Session II - 10:20 - 11:10 (CUE 320)
"UCONN's new SET forms: formative and summative items Alternative forms of course and Instructor evaluation "

David Miller, Psychology

Large-enrollment courses offer special challenges for instructors in terms of administering exams in a timely fashion while proactively discouraging academic misconduct in an environment where students might be difficult to monitor. I shall describe a system that I have been using for around 2 decades in my General Psychology I. (PSYC 1100) course, which enrolls over 300 students. This method can be adapted to moderate-sized classes, as I have done with my 140-student Animal Behavior (PSYC 3201) course. I shall also briefly address the issue to make-up exams in large courses as well as a recently-employed alternative final exam option designed as a means of helping students who have performed poorly earlier in the semester.


 Larry Armstrong, Kinesiology &
Diane Lillo-Martin: Linguistics


The University of Connecticut faculty should continue to support and strive for teaching excellence. Evaluation is a fundamental aspect of improved instruction. This session will cover both formative (for the instructor’s benefit alone, used to improve teaching before and during a course) and summative (for PTR and merit decisions) aspects of teaching evaluation. First, the historical development of the “old/present” (1990) and the “new” (2004 - 2010) SET forms will be described, including the guiding principles, sources, external questionnaire items that were considered, University Senate approvals, and best standards. This will include newly developed (2010) Guidelines for Deans, Department Heads, and PTR Committees. Second, experts agree that students are not qualified to make judgments about all aspects of teaching performance, however valid the instrument. Thus, it is appropriate to supplement SET with other measures, as determined by individual departments, to gain a comprehensive understanding of teaching effectiveness. Several alternative forms of teacher evaluation (i.e., course syllabi, documentation of student learning, peer evaluations, classroom observations, curriculum development efforts, or instructor self-evaluation) will be presented.

Session III - 11:15 - 12:25 (CUE 122)
"Use of HuskyCT for assessment"
Session III - 11:15 - 12:25 (CUE 320)
"Course evaluations - Face to face, blended, and online"

Kim Chambers, et al
ITL Educational Technology Center
Handout #1
Handout #2
Handout #3

This session explores use of HuskyCT to implement online assessments. Presenters will demonstrate use of the HuskyCT quiz and survey tool, the assignments tool, the discussion tool, grading rubrics and peer evaluation to complete both faculty and student peer assessments. Designed for demonstration and questions and answer the session will also cover a follow-up suggestions for participants wishing to implements some of these assessment strategies.


Cathy Healy & Marny Lawton
ITL Instructional Design


Evaluating your courses requires a well thought out strategy. In this session we will discuss the benefits of conducting course evaluations and how they relate to principles of good teaching practice. We will identify various methods of course evaluation for face-to-face, blended and online courses. We will also review the basics of designing useful evaluations, and what to do with the results.

LUNCH - 12:30 - 1:30 Center for Undergraduate Education (CUE) Atrium
Session IV - 1:30 - 2:20 (CUE 122)
"Teaching & Course Portfolios

Session IV - 1:30 - 2:20 (CUE 320)
"Writing Assessment: Crafting Better Rubrics, Encouraging Reflection, and Delivering More Effective Comments"

KB, Sara K. Johnson: HDFS &
Denise Burchsted: Geological Sciences

This session will focus on the process of creating a comprehensive formative portfolio that documents and evaluates a course during its creation and delivery. A significant activity in this process is the generation of reflective pieces that allow pedagogical changes to be made as well as providing a legacy document. Two graduates, who have completed a course with KB will present their results and observations on the value of such a portfolio.


Tom Deans, English

This session will cover experience-tested ways of responding to student writing. Working with student writers will always be time-intensive, but many have discovered strategies that make assessing writing more effective, efficient, consistent, and humane. We will discuss three such strategies: requiring students do self-assessments; creating good rubrics; and optimizing the timing, length, and content of your comments on student texts. 

Session V - 2:25 - 3:15 (CUE 122)
"Criterion-based v. Norm-based grading"

D. Betsy McCoach & Karen Rambo, Neag - EPSY

This session will explain the difference between criterion-referenced and norm-referenced assessments and explicate the advantages and disadvantages of each. Recommendations for higher education courses will be addressed. 

Wrap-up, discussion and book raffle: 3:15-3:30 (CUE122)

What questions do you still have?  What did you hear about today that you might want more information on? Come and brainstorm with your peers and with the ITL staff to take your next step into successful assessment and evaluation.


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Center for Undergraduate Education
386 Fairfield Way, Unit 2142
Storrs, CT 06269-2142
Ph: 860-486-2686 Fax: 860-486-5724