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To Grade or Not to Grade

The debate about grading is ongoing and many discussions have been raised whether it fosters real learning. Some argue that grading limits divergent thinking and that learning ends at the point of achieving a specific grade. For teachers, grading consumes a lot of their time which impacts their relationship with their students. From feedback perspective, grading does not give the full picture of a student’s understanding of concepts. 

Our efforts here at Enlight Ed is to make feedback into an integral part of teaching, and fill the gaps in the teacher-student interaction. With our step by step guided approach, teachers can explain an exercise or a concept by asking questions and providing hints based on the answers they prompt from their students. To further enrich learning, students can be allowed to make errors and learn from the wrong answers by providing the hints that helps them to think in the right way, to eventually get on the right path.

Feedback is even more powerful when it is backed by data. Creating exercises in our authoring environment means that you break them down into simple steps. This allows you to guide the student through an exercise by asking pedagogical questions at each step. From a reporting point of view, we do not only track the exercises have completed, but how your guidance has helped with understanding of the exercise or concept. 

data about student learning curve

The graph above shows 41 exercises in college level mathematics, and the number of times each exercise is solved by students. The yellow bars indicated that guidance was needed in order to complete the exercises, whereas the grey bars show that the students answered the questions at each step correctly without any guidance.  If you look at exercise 19, it was completed nearly 60 times without requiring any guidance. Exercise 1 shows that each 50 times it was completed, guidance was needed. This is a quick view of overall knowledge level of a group of students.

 

individualised feedback

We can of course go more granular than the graph above by looking at reports for each student. Here, we can see how many maths exercises a student has completed in  different chapters. What is also shown is the difficulty level of exercises from a chapter. In this case you have for example exercises in 3 different difficulty levels from the chapter (Gebroken getallen) which is in Dutch and means fraction.

We can now observe that as the difficulty level increases, the need for guidance is increasing. This is basis of adaptive learning and this is how we are making a student’s learning line more visible. The data we collect is key to discover the real understanding level of a student.

It is a very simple experiment. Any teacher can get a good feel for this by just creating few exercises to explain a concept and let your students work on these exercises. We can pull these reports for you to show if your guidance or explanations have been helpful to your students.