Academic journal article Journal of Developmental Education

"Dear Professor Letter" Provides Assessment Tool

Academic journal article Journal of Developmental Education

"Dear Professor Letter" Provides Assessment Tool

Article excerpt

On-going conversation and feedback between professors and students can offer insight into the effectiveness of a class in progress. An innovative classroom assessment tool to help provide such feedback is described in a recent article in The Teaching Professor. It's intended purpose is to allow the professor to "get to know my students on a personal level, to have an ongoing, individual conversation with them throughout the semester, and to monitor their progress in learning course content.

Debra Pallatto-Fontaine, a professor at Assumption College in Massachusetts, has designed and implemented the "Dear Professor" letter in her classes to help promote an interpersonal connection between her and her students. Assigned every 2 weeks, students are asked to write about both cognitive-thoughts about readings, class discussions, or class activities they find significant-and affective-how they internalized, related to life experiences, and/or felt about class materials and their presentation-experiences in class.

An example of a student comment related to cognitive understanding is "Another point I do not think is correct is that Piaget's theory ends at the formal operational stage. I still think I am developing in my thinking. …

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