New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Engineering Physics & Physics
Providing students with opportunities to improve their written and oral communication abilities can be an effective way to elicit student learning. ABET Criterion 3 speaks directly to the importance of this skillset through Student Outcome g which states “an ability to communicate effectively (3g1 orally, 3g2, written) .” 1 There are a number of ways to include this skillset within the assessment component of a typical STEM classroom. With this ABET student learning outcome as a backdrop, this paper will provide a synthesis of two writing-based assessment strategies that will draw upon specific examples utilized in a collection of introductory physics classes. These strategies include free-writing activities and a formal conference research paper activity. The conference paper activity includes an oral presentation component as well; thus, these examples address both components of Criterion 3g. Several studies exist which point to the use of writing-based assessments both in physics as well as in the broader STEM communities. These studies provide a sound research base that suggests that writing-based strategies can not only improve students’ written communication skills but they can simultaneously serve as useful learning tools. The aims of this paper are twofold. First, an overview of how these two writing-based approaches might be embedded within the curriculum as pedagogical tools to help assess just what and how students are learning will be presented. Second, some suggestions as to how the use of these approaches can be used to provide one measure of student ability to communicate effectively as per Criterion 3g. Because writing activities tend to demand considerable grading time for instructors, many of us tend to shy away from assigning too many of them. This is particularly true for faculty in small departments who don’t have the luxury of having unlimited hours for grading assistants. Hence, a discussion of time-saving grading and assessment methods will also be shared.
Larkin, T. L. (2016, June), Writing in STEM: A Synthesis of Two Adaptive Approaches Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27058
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