Are Grades Getting In The Way Of Our Learning?

How “flipping” the way we teach and assess students will actually improve their learning.

Flipped Classroom

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Here’s a somewhat painful memory from my days as an undergraduate computer science student… I still remember vividly how one of my professors would take five points off my final score anytime I asked a question during an assignment.  In fact, we were not allowed to ask questions even during his lectures - just sit and listen!  Not surprisingly, this did not make for a fulfilling learning experience…

And speaking of, I continue to see courses today where quizzes will simply output a binary grade: you either pass, or fail, or somewhere in between.  As a student, what can you learn or apply from this type of grading?  Not much, unfortunately.  All of these learning approaches are actually getting in the way of how adult students should learn.   There’s a better way: flip the classroom, flip the assessment.

The concept of the “Flipped Classroom” was actually introduced a little while back. In a traditional training classroom, an instructor lectures with the students in the class, and assigns homework activities to help students apply what they learned.  In a flipped classroom, the students start with a pre-recorded lecture which they watch at home on their own time, and then they discuss and do activities in class with the instructor to apply what they learned.

I think it is also time to introduce the “Flipped Assessment”. 

In a Flipped Assessment, the quiz or test is not the end of the learning process: it’s part of it.  With this model, there is always a review of each item on the assessment.  During this review, the instructor tells the student why the assessment item sought a particular response.  In turn, the student can share the way in which they perceived the assessment item.  Consequently, the student is encouraged to put the assessment experience into a learning context, and the instructor can use the student perspective to improve future assessments.  Gone are the fears of the quiz and the grade and asking questions - and the students' only benefit.

Both the Flipped Classroom and the Flipped Assessment model a scenario where the time spent interacting with the instructor is used most efficiently.  In other words, the communication flows in both directions between instructor and student, not one way.

Especially in adult learning circumstances, the grade or score a student earns is often irrelevant.  We at Qlik understand that what really matters is what the student can do – as a result of the knowledge and skills they have learned in the course – which they could not do effectively or efficiently before they experienced the course.

We have designed courses that will provide direct interaction with instructors, and assessments that provide feedback instead of a score. Experience the "flip" today by trying our Qlik Continuous Classroom for free!

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