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Example: Astrophysics


Faculty: Science and Technology
Department: Department of Physics and Astronomy
Course: Astrophysics
Place: 1st year, 2nd quarter
Number of students: 120-150
Course responsible: Ole Eggers Bjælde

A variety of small graded activities during the course gives the students in Astrophysics opportunities to practice and receive feedback on their performance. These activities contribute 25% of the final grade.

Assessment method
Final Assessment
Continuous assessment
Continuous assessment 

Percentage of grade

75

15

10

When

After the course

Week 1-7

Week 4-5

What

Final 3-hour written digital exam with open book and internet.

Smaller written assignments, multiple choice questions and problem solving in Blackboard Student-generated questions in PeerWise.

Group project with emphasis on innovative and multimodal communication.

Why

To test students' ability to solve problems and to explain causal relations between objects in the Universe.

To practice problem solving skills, to motivate persistent work during the course and to give feedback on students' learning.

To practice skills such as communication, creativity and information search in an astrophysical setting.

How

Students do the exam on their own computer through the digital exam platform.

Students do the activities in the Learning Management System Blackboard. There is a weekly deadline.  

The project is done in groups of 1-4. It follows the 5E-model (engage, explore, explain, elaborate, evaluate). Some products are subsequently used in outreach activities.

Grading criteria are know beforehand but format is free.

 

 

Teaching activities

Students practice digital assignments as well as explanation and problem solving skills in the continuous assessment and at in exercise classes.

Students practice problem solving in exercise classes. All graded activities in the continuous assessment take place online.   

Interview with the course responsible

Why this form of assessment?

"The continuous assessment gives students motivation to work during the course. If activities were voluntary, a lot of students would not do them."  

"It is important to work with meaningful learning activities during the course."

"Adding graded activities during the course gives students credit for working hard during the course and takes a bit of pressure off the final exam"

"With small activities during the course, we can test specific learning outcomes in specific topics. In the final exam students connect the different topics.”

How is time consumption with this form of assessment?

”The first year with this form of assessment is the hardest as methods and some material can be reused."

"Some activities in the continuous assessment need grading. Some are graded automatically by Blackboard (e.g. multiple choice questions) whereas others need manual grading by the teacher or the teaching assistants. Feedback is given collectively or individually depending on the magnitude of the activity."

"The final exam has been shortened, so some time is saved on producing that and assessing it."

Other comments:

"By having graded activities during the course, the teacher (as well as the students) gets a continuous indication of student learning. This is useful in focusing activities on harder parts of the curriculum."

"The majority of students in this course actually prefer this kind of assessment and many appreciate the fact the teacher actually cares about optimising their learning."