Classroom Assessment Techniques CATSharyl Eve Toscano PhD, MS, BS, RN-CPN ·
Associate Professor · School of Nursing · University of Alaska
Context of the Inquiry
Pharmacology is a knowledge based course taken in preparation for application in clinical practice. Group breakouts allow for application of key concepts but often fail to require individual accountability. Traditional testing methods require that students pass a multiple choice exam without much attention focused on what is being taught in class prior to that terminal assessment.
Focus of the Inquiry
Classroom Assessment Techniques (Angelo & Cross, 1993)will guide my classroom inquiry. Each classroom assessment technique requires planning, implementation, and responding. By closing the loop prior to subsequent lectures and or activities results from the assessment will direct classroom teaching. Student will complete individual assessments through the course. Individual assessments require individual accountability for course content compared to group break out activities. Group break out activities don't provide feedback on individual students who might be struggling with a concept. Individual questions in class fail to emphasize the number of students in the class failing to grasp a particular topic.
Course Design and Implementation
CATs aimed at assessing skill in synthesis and creative thinking Expository poem (from focused listing/as assigned)
CATs aimed at assessing skill in analysis and critical thinking Defining Features Matrix (as assigned)CATs aimed at assessing prior knowledge, recall, and understanding Muddiest Point (weekly) Focused listing (as assigned)CATs are chosen based on goal inventory. Based on the Teaching goals inventory, self -scoring worksheet higher-order thinking skills and discipline-specific knowledge and skills scored the highest. These results direct me to CATs aimed at assessing prior knowledge, recall, and understanding, assessing skill in analysis and critical thinking, and assessing skill in synthesis and creative thinking. muddiest point, defining features matrix, and focused listing with expository poem.
Evaluation of CAT exercises using GIFT Group Instructional Feedback
Thirty-eight students consented to participate in the study. The GIFT assessment was completed a mid-term and again at the completion of the course.
Can't find this information in the book (cardiovascular matrix) (common theme in each group)
Muddy, sometimes feel rushed to fill them out
What can be done to improve it?
MATRIX should be pass fail and student should be able to do the matrix again if they do it wrong
Mirror info in class better
Suggested resources for CV matrix
CV matrix better if broken down into what conditions they treat
Unexpectedly, muddy points also provided a venue to reinforce the scope of nursing practice and the scope of the course in relation to pharmacology. This is evident in the following example, “Many of the muddy points are outside the scope of this course and/or your license so I've left those for you to investigate on your own and look forward to what you find. We assess symptoms and protect from adverse events or reactions. We do not proscribe. Many of the questions were related to prescribing medications which isn't consistent with the objectives of this course.”
Follow up items:
1.C A master cardiology matrix was posted which reinforced course content. Students recognized that there were multiple ways to organize the information based on their individual matrices created prior to posting the master
2.b Clarification of matrix headings was helpful for students in getting started on their matrix. A select few students still wanted more direction in these assignments. IMPORTANT FINDING is that the matrix assignments did require students to work independently on course content prior to reviewing that content in class. Feedback supports that this was a high level student task that required effort and attention.
Other findings: Only three students completed the IDEA survey. Results were not favorable compared to previous offers where ratings are in the top two levels with positive qualitative comments. Previous idea surveys have good participation compared to this offering where only 3 students responded. Conducting the GIFT assessment at the end of the semester might have affected student participation in the IDEA survey. OF interest is that fact that the course was still rated high quality despite the other ratings to the contrary.
Does individual accountability via CAT assessment placed before, during, and post synchronous learning improve students' perceptions of learning in three categories: prior knowledge, recall, and understanding; analysis and critical thinking; and synthesis and creative thinking? YES
Live course revision might seem radical but when grounded in CAT it was very meaningful for both me and the students. Changes were grounded in the CAT which acted to document achievement and/or lack of achievement of difficulty concepts. Instead of waiting for a future offering to address lack of achievement, I was able to address it immediately and prior to testing.
Unexpected Reflection on CATs in the spring semester of 2014