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Using Computer Spreadsheets To Assess Teaching Performance And Testing Effectiveness

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.468.1 - 2.468.7



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Paper Authors

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craig evers

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

Session 1275

Using Computer Spreadsheets to Assess Teaching Performance and Testing Effectiveness

Craig T. Evers Purdue University - School of Technology


The traditional grade book can tell you how the students are doing in a given class. With the advent of computers and spreadsheet software, it is possible for teachers to also grade the tests and their own performance. Using Microsoft Excel, a spreadsheet has been constructed from which indicators of the testing effectiveness can be extracted. It is also possible to determine how well the teacher is doing in presenting class material. A series of interconnected tables plots the performance of each question in a test. By this means, with less effort than maintaining a written grade book, it is possible to evaluate the degree of comprehension the class has regarding any area of the subject matter being tested. It is also a straightforward matter to determine which questions have “worked” on a test and which have failed to evaluate the level of knowledge of the students. The development of a grading curve can be shown with every graded assignment so that the teacher always knows the degree of challenge to program into the next test or assignment. By apprising students of their standing at key points in the quarter, misunderstandings of grades and “surprises” are greatly reduced, and the students understand what is expected of them to reach their course goals. This tool was developed over a three year period of teaching engineering courses at Auburn University.


A search of the literature and presentations at education conferences turns up many references concerning teaching and learning styles. As educators, these are vital areas in which we must be trained. There is much of value for us in these subject areas. Our students may not appreciate our preparedness, but if they learn, we will have succeeded in our charge to educate them.

In the proceedings of the 1996 ASEE Conference, for instance, there were papers dealing with a variety of topics, such as new faculty orientations1, with the attendant training on teaching styles. Some schools have started to conduct seminars in college teaching2, the better to prepare research-oriented graduate students for the realities of working with students. There was discussion of teaching styles3, with reference to teachers who are at the baseline level, or who are active learning or discovery/design teachers. Bloom’s taxonomy was invoked as a standard measure for learning and teaching. Tips, techniques, and tricks of the trade were shared freely on every hand.

There was one important area, however, in which there was very little information presented. There was a discussion of the teacher’s perception of student academic success4 in which we learned the extent to which our impression of a student’s achievements varies from the students’ self-expectations. Papers acknowledged that “student performance must be weighed," but passed

evers, C. (1997, June), Using Computer Spreadsheets To Assess Teaching Performance And Testing Effectiveness Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6871

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