September 30, 2009

Looking forward to reading midterms

A few minutes ago, I finished preparing the midterm for my undergraduate history of education class, and I am looking forward to reading student responses.

For this semester, I decided to write a midterm that was entirely focused on historical documents in the form of primary-source identification items. The task for each item requires that students identify the item, place it in time (reasonably close), provide a little bit of close reading, and then explain at least two dimensions of broader historical significance. At the beginning of the semester, I was hoping that having this structure would encourage students to focus on the primary sources, and I think it is working reasonably well. But we will all see for certain after class tomorrow.

I am also shoving the midterm as close to the beginning of the semester as I can (this is our sixth week), so students have at least two key grades before the drop deadline. 

I think next week I will ask students what they've thought of the pace thus far in the semester. Because of a number of events this month, my sense of time is all messed up, and I have no solid feel for student perceptions. My rational guess based on prior experience is that students might feel a little rushed now but might appreciate the midterm timing later in October, as other assignments begin to pile up.  But that's why I need to ask; it's a guess and not firm knowledge.

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Posted in Teaching on September 30, 2009 10:01 AM |