June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
Educational Research and Methods
22.712.1 - 22.712.21
Feedback and Assessment of Student Work on Model-Eliciting Activities: Teaching Assistants’ Perceptions and StrategiesModel-Eliciting-Activities (MEAs) are open-ended engineering problems set in realisticcontexts. Due to the open-ended nature, it can be challenging for instructors to assess students’solutions and provide good feedback. In the setting for this study, Teaching Assistants (TAs)contribute significantly to the implementation of MEAs in a first-year engineering course. TAsare the main source of information, feedback, and assessment for the students. As such, the TAs’input is greatly valued and vital to student success. Providing the TAs with appropriateevaluation materials and training is critical for both TA and student success.Since 2002, graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) have been primarily responsible for theimplementation of MEAs. Their professional development has focused on building a consistentinterpretation of a high quality response to a given MEA and the consistent application of thedimensions of a MEA Rubric. However, in Fall 2009, Undergraduate Teaching Assistants(UGTA) replaced most of the GTAs. This created a need for modifications to the TAprofessional development with MEAs. The purpose of this survey was to understand the impactof this modified training. We sought to 1) understand the TAs’, especially the UGTAs’,perceptions of their ability to apply the four dimensions of the MEA Rubric during feedback andassessment of student work on MEAs and 2) identify the strategies TAs employ to conductfeedback and assessment.This survey was modeled after, and using responses from, interview protocols used with GTAsin 2008-09. The resulting survey, consisting of closed-ended questions and accompanying open-ended questions that allow respondents to provide explanation, was conducted via a web-basedinterface at the end of Spring 2010. Thirty-six (36) TAs participated in this survey and of those82% were peer teachers, 8% were undergraduate graders, and 10% were GTAs.Results indicate that a majority of the TAs felt they had difficulty with the Mathematical Modeland Modifiability dimensions of the MEA Rubric. One TA wrote, ““I belive this dimension[Mathematical Model] was most difficult to assess because it forced the grader to deal with moreloosely defined criteria…” Further modifications to the TA professional development or MEARubric should focus on clarifying these two dimensions.In addition, of all the reference materials available for TAs to use while grading and providingfeedback, a few, such as MEA IMAP –Grading Guide, data sets for the MEA, MEA Rubriconline, and Expert feedback from online training, were found to be the most useful to the TAs.The TAs always had these open or available during feedback or at least referenced theseperiodically. Future studies can be conducted on how TAs use of these materials; this wouldinform improvements in their feedback and assessment strategies.This paper emphasizes that TA professional development is a vital component of successfulstudent education. Therefore, conducting TA exit surveys and addressing issues raised arecritical steps in improving the quality of TA participation in the teaching endeavor.
Merugureddy, R., & Salim, A., & Diefes-Dux, H. A., & Cardella, M. E. (2011, June), Feedback and Assessment of Student Work on Model-Eliciting Activities: Undergraduate Teaching Assistants’ Perceptions and Strategies Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/17993
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