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Actively Modifying The Classroom Approach Using Pre Tests And Recurring Problems

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Conference

2008 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Tricks of the Trade I

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

Page Count

8

Page Numbers

13.146.1 - 13.146.8

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/4425

Download Count

8

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Paper Authors

author page

David Benson Kettering University

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Actively Modifying the Classroom Approach Using Pre-Tests and Recurring Problems

Abstract

Finding the right level of instruction is an exceptionally difficult task for new faculty. The gap between the podium and the seats is large. Student insecurity and reticence to offer honest and immediate feedback about their understanding coupled with faculty focus on content goals and course objectives can often lead to a disconnect between what is being presented and what the audience is capable of acquiring. As a result, students often contend that faculty members have forgotten what it is like to be learning something for the first time. Pre-tests and recurring problems are examples of tools that can be used to assess client (student) levels so as to tailor instruction to meet student needs. Samples of both skill and content pre-test results as well as examples of how classes were altered to adjust the level of instruction in response will be presented. As a follow-up to the pre-tests, results from the use of recurring problems in a class will be presented to demonstrate how these tools allow for continual re-evaluation of the difficulty level and course pacing. These tools can also be used to help students identify their own areas of difficulty and to promote individual addressing of key concerns.

Introduction

Finding the right level of instruction is an exceptionally difficult task for new faculty. The gap between the podium and the seats is large. Student insecurity and reticence to offer honest and immediate feedback about their understanding coupled with faculty focus on content goals and course objectives can often lead to a disconnect between what is being presented and what the audience is capable of acquiring. As a result, students often contend that faculty members have forgotten what it is like to be learning something for the first time. New faculty is faced with many challenges in their first terms of teaching. Developing lecture notes, acquiring sense of campus culture, creating evaluation tools and the grading and assessing students are just a few of these challenges. However, one of the most difficult challenges facing the new faculty member is remaining responsive to their students. With all of the demands on an instructor’s time and attention, it is hard to hear and make time to understand student frustrations. It is even harder to make midstream adjustments to one’s instructional plan. For the students, however, the mismatch between the instructor and student, such as instruction that is above their level of ability, can lead to disastrous levels of frustration and conflict in the classroom. Reform in education[1-5] and studies in cognition[6,7] reinforce the idea that an adaptive and flexible approach to instruction is essential to efforts to improve student understanding. Recognizing that Students entering a class not only bring the gaps in their background and a set of preconceived notions, but also that their knowledge “consists of loosely interrelated knowledge fragments.… difficult to remember, difficult to regenerate if partially forgotten and prone to inconsistencies.”[1] Therefore, one goal of a new instructor should be that of active instruction: an approach where the instructor is attuned to the needs and abilities of the students that are physically

Benson, D. (2008, June), Actively Modifying The Classroom Approach Using Pre Tests And Recurring Problems Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/4425

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