Culture wars

To Dr Harlene Hayne, Vice-Chancellor***, Otago University, New Zealand Dear Harlene, As an Otago graduate (Zoology, Class of 1984), I’ve always enjoyed your articles in our Alumni Magazine. Congratulations, btw, on five years in the job. I hope the next five are as good for you and the university as the last five. Here at Penn State, […]

Class Test 2: upping the bar

This test happened yesterday. It covered more ground that the first test (since we are now half way through semester and the tests are cumulative). I also deliberately made it a bit harder to keep students stretching. Looks like that worked pretty well. The average score among those who did the test was 77% (C+), […]

Class Test 3 results: outstanding

The third class test happened yesterday. The overall average among those who took the test was 86% (B), up an astounding 9% from Class Test 2. But best is the distribution. The numbers of A’s and A-‘s doubled for the second time in a row, and now we’ve lost the miserable right-ward skew we had […]

Class Test 2 results

The second class test happened yesterday. The overall average among those who took the test was 77.4% (C+), up only slightly from Class Test 1. But the good news is the big jump in the number of students who did well – the numbers of A’s and A-‘s more than doubled. It looks like a […]

The responsibility

For the first time, this year’s class was almost entirely first semester freshmen. Much to my surprise, I felt an immense responsibility to set these students off on their Penn State careers the right way. That meant trying to impart more than ‘just’ course-related skills like critical thinking, the evaluation of evidence, distinguishing a reasoned argument from baloney, and empowering students to […]

Class Test 2

Class test 2 ran yesterday. The class average among those who took the test was 77%, slightly up on the first test. Some students did outstandingly well. No one got everything right, but two got 100% on my ask-28-questions-grade-out-of-25 algorithm. There were 5 A‘s, 5 A-‘s, 34 B+‘s, 23 B‘s, 38 B-‘s, 21 C+‘s, 16 C‘s, […]