Description of Good Assessment Practice

Title: Prof
Name: Michael Wong
Academic Position: Full Professor
Name of Institution: Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Country: Hong Kong
Discipline: Science
Department/School: Physics
Course title: Black Holes and Early Universe
Course code: PHYS2021
Class size: 1-20
Course Year: Year 1
Assessment Title: In-class Problem Solving
Assessment Type: Both
Time allowed for assessment: 15 to 20 minutes
Target: Others
Learning outcomes of the assessment practice: Learning Outcome 1: To consolidate the concepts learned in the lectures

Learning Outcome 2: To apply the learned concepts to practical situations

Learning Outcome 3: To promote attentiveness during lectures and regular class attendance
Key features and principles of the assessment practice: This assessment practice is “class work”. During a 100-minute lecture, 15 to 20 minutes of the lecture is reserved for a class work problem with a suitable length. The problem is an extension or application of the concepts introduced in the present or previous lecture. Students are allowed to refer to lecture notes and discuss with class mates. Depending on the progress of the class, the instructor may give appropriate hints to assist the students in problem solving.
What are the best things about this assessment method? (1) The concepts learned in the lectures can be consolidated. This is especially important to courses involving scientific concepts and mathematical skills. Without a chance to consolidate the concepts, the students would think that they have understood the concepts but in fact they may not be aware that their understanding is only very superficial.
(2) The learned concepts can be applied to practical situations. The students thus recognize the relevance of the course content.
(3) Knowing that the lecture content will be required to solve the class work problem, the students become more attentive during the lectures.
(4) Since students are expected to do the class work problem, class attendance becomes more regular.
(5) The instructor and the teaching assistant have an immediate opportunity to monitor student progress.
(6) The relation between the instructor and the students
(7) The students have higher motivations when solving problems together, and have opportunities to discuss academic problems among themselves. The more advanced students can practice their skills in explaining the concepts to their peers.
(8) Class work has fewer problems with plagiarism common in homework.
What are the challenges in implementing this assessment method? (1) The length, the level of difficulty, and the relevance of the problem have to be carefully set. 15 to 20 minutes may not be suitable for long and difficult problems. Interesting and relevant problems motivate the students to solve the problems with the feeling that they can learn something through the class work, and that they have not “lost” 15-20 minutes of lecture content.
(2) This mode of assessment is more suitable for elective courses, where there is less pressure in deciding the course content. However, for required courses, class work problems can be introduced in tutorials.
What do your students think about this assessment method? (Any evaluation?) (1) The students found that the class work was useful.
(2) Some students did not like the pressure of attending classes.
Plans for changes/developments in future (if any):
Creation date: 2015-10-15 15:50:53