How can I assess students in a class emphasizing group work?
Episode 501: Keep arguing
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Florida International University
Sample Discussion Prompts
- What did you notice in this episode? Talk to your neighbor about what you noticed.
- Why does this instructor (Leon) give group exams? What is the value of this form of assessment for him, according to his explanation in this episode?
- In Leon’s class, the ultimate evidence of understanding is not only getting the right answer, but also making a compelling argument to the others in your group; otherwise, he says, “maybe you didn't understand it as well as you needed to in order to argue these points effectively.” Do you agree that good understanding typically translates to effective argumentation? Or do you think that this is not typically the case?
- Ariana jokes about deceiving her partners in order to get her answer onto the exam. Does it seem that she thinks good understanding typically translates to effective argumentation? What might Ariana be concerned about, such that she would consider deception?
- What do you think Leon means by the term “smart” in line 36? What is the relationship between being “smart” and being a “reasonably good scientist”?
- Earlier, Leon explained that the groups for the exam would be selected by him (not the students) and would not be announced until the start of the exam. What might motivate this part of his assessment strategy?
- In this episode, a number of power structures are proposed, including democracy (majority rule) and meritocracy (the highest-quality answer wins). What other power structures are proposed in this episode – what else might determine who “wins” in this classroom?
- What does this episode suggest about how best to assess students in a class emphasizing group work?
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