Talking Teaching


Fall 2012: TBA




Spring 2012



Talking Teaching at Common Hour 

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Tuesday, April 12, 2012
Trinity Faculty SoTL Contributions
12:15 p.m.-1:30 p.m.: Talking Teaching at Common Hour Event
Wean Terrace Rooms BC, Mather Hall

For the final Talking Teaching discussion of the spring semester, three faculty members present their own research contributions to the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL). Please join Professor Kathleen Archer (Department of Biology)  and Professor Lin Cheng (Department of Engineering) for an insightful talk about their research projects and learn what techniques -- conventional or otherwise -- each adopted in their projects.

If you have a topic you’d like to facilitate, please contact Dina Anselmi, Gary Reger, or Jennifer MacDonald.

 

 Past Events

Academic Rigor

The academic world, Trinity not excluded, has been abuzz for many years about academic rigor. In 2002, Alfie Kohn argued in the Chronicle of Higher Education that “[i]t is largely accepted on faith that grade inflation -- an upward shift in students' grade-point averages without a similar rise in achievement -- exists, and that it is a bad thing. Meanwhile, the truly substantive issues surrounding grades and motivation have been obscured or ignored.”  Almost ten years prior to the Kohn article, Clifford Adelman published a little-known report for the U.S. Department of Education that suggested grades actually declined somewhat between 1975 and 1995.  Other commentators claim colleges are less rigorous than in the past, and some studies seem to support this view. Here at Trinity, the question has arisen in conjunction with studies of grades across the disciplines; in reports offered to the faculty; in the recent faculty retreat; and in discussions around assessment.  A short collection of articles on academic rigor and several slides from "Academic Rigor I" illustrating grade inflation at Trinity can be found below.  

In two “Talking Teaching” sessions for the spring 2012 semester, the Center for Teaching and Learning invited faculty to think further about rigor. What is it, precisely? Do statistical measures of grade distribution measure rigor? How do we know when we are rigorous? How meaningful are cross-disciplinary comparisons? Where in faculty and student culture does a commitment to rigor arise, and how can it be fostered? What does rigor contribute to desired educational outcomes for our students?  

We have continued the conversation begun during the course of the two events listed below on our new blog that can be found here or by following http://commons.trincoll.edu/ctl/  .  We encourage to read the comments and, above all, to add you thoughts to the discussion.




Thursday, February 9, 2012

12:15 p.m.-1:30 p.m.:  Talking Teaching at Common Hour Event
Wean Terrace Rooms BC, Mather Hall

The first Talking Teaching discussion session offered an overview and discussion of the data (or lack of data) underpinning the central claims of grade inflation as a proxy for measuring academic rigor.  Do statistical measures of grade distribution measure rigor?  What is academic rigor?   Rachael Barlow from the Social Science Center and James J. Hughes from Institutional Research and Planning  helped guide us through the statistical quagmire of  conflicting evidence. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012
12:15 p.m.-1:30 p.m.: Talking Teaching at Common Hour Event
Wean Terrace Rooms BC, Mather Hall

In our next and last session on academic rigor we are asking what constitutes academic rigor and whether or not statistical measures of grade distribution can measure rigor? That is, are grades a good proxy measure for academic rigor? How do we know when we are rigorous? How meaningful are cross-disciplinary comparisons? Where in faculty and student culture does a commitment to rigor arise, and how can it be fostered? What does rigor contribute to desired educational outcomes for our students?
Please join us and our faculty-led panel -- Professor Dan Blackburn (Biology), Professor David Reuman (Psychology) and Professor Maurice Wade (Philosophy) -- on Thursday  March 15, 2012 at Common Hour in the Wean Terrace Rooms BC for an insightful exchange of views and, of course, for pizza!

 **Facilitator/s to be announced.


Articles on Academic Rigor:

What Purpose Do Grades Serve.pdf

Dangerous Myth of Grade Inflation.pdf

Grading -- The Issue is Not How but Why.pdf

The Economics of Grades.pdf

Grade Inflation and the Myth of Student Consumerism.pdf

Grade Inflation at Trinity:  please click here for a pdf version of the three slide below