Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
We piloted a mastery-style assessment method in one section of a sophomore-level Statics and Mechanics of Materials course at Cornell University. The main goal of this approach is to move student and course staff effort away from rote completion and grading of homework problems and towards building problem solving skills, as demonstrated with successful work on exams. Our work is inspired by the work of Averill, Roccabianca, and Rechtenwald at Michigan State University (MSU), but our implementation differs from theirs in several key aspects.
During Fall 2019, we taught two lecture sections of the course. The control section was graded in the traditional manner with a portion of the course grade due to graded homework and all exams graded with generous partial credit, while the experimental section did not have their written homework collected or graded and exams were graded with a constrained partial credit, or mastery-graded rubric. For the mastery-graded exams, students received full marks for a correct solution method leading to the correct answer, and received no credit if either the method or the answer was not correct. Some partial credit was possible if students could show that their method was conceptually correct and their wrong answer due to a calculator error or similar. Students in the experimental section had the opportunity to retake parts of each exam up to two additional times to improve their scores. The two sections were given the same final exam.
Key differences between our implementation and that of Averill, et. al. include: students in both of our sections were required to submit online homework, which was auto-graded by the learning management system; we had only two midterm exams compared to their five midterm exams; due to time constraints (50 minute lecture periods versus 90 minute evening midterm time slots), students in the experimental section could retake only parts, not all, of the exams.
Students were surveyed midway through the semester and again at the end, and asked about their achievement of course outcomes and experiences with the novel grading scheme. The learning outcomes and experiences of the two sections are compared and suggestions for future implementation included. The general applicability of this method to other classes at other universities is also discussed.
Ritz, H., & Dimiduk, K., & van Paridon, A. (2020, June), Effect of Mastery-graded Exams on Student Outcomes in Statics and Mechanics of Solids Course Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34496
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2020 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015