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Assessment of students compared to the 1st term of 2020-2021 academic year

Assessment of students compared to the 1st term of 2020-2021 academic year

20.01.2021

 

The 1st term of 2020-2021 academic year, teaching at our School started with a hybrid format (two days a week on-site and three days a week online). Later, because of the worsening health situation, we switched to a completely online model. It should be noted that teachers were asked, from the beginning, to design the 1st-term subjects taking into account both the hybrid model and a scenario compelling them to the online switch. That way, from the beginning, the teachers devised an ideal plan and a plan adapted to the possibly worsening health situation.

Below we summarize the assessment and actions carried out and the guidance offered in our UCA regarding the process of adaptation to the hybrid format of teaching during the first term of 2020-2021.

- Approaches to the monitoring of hybrid teaching and assessment:

Following the actions launched during last year’s 3rd term, the School has made available for teachers help guides, discussion forums, and guidance based on the experience from the 2nd and 3rd terms, when assessment methods were adapted to the online format urgently due to the unexpected pandemic. The support documents elaborated are periodically updated based upon experience, lessons learned, and reflections shared among all the School teachers and researchers.

This documentation aims to guide teachers by providing them with a set of justified recommendations, at both the theoretical and pedagogical levels, to guarantee an accurate, sympathetic, and reliable assessment process of distance learning.

- Methodological changes in assessment and teaching in the 1st term:

We have analyzed the changes proposed in 27 subjects to adapt them to the hybrid teaching model. Basically, we have noted the following:

  • The most used tool in subjects for distance teaching is Collaborate (66.67%).
  • The most used tool to solve doubts and keep close contact with the students is Forum, on Aula Global. In 48.15% of the subjects, complementary tools have been used to improve communication between student and teachers.
  • No substantial change in contents, methodology, and/or assessment has been observed in any of the subjects analyzed.
  • In 51.85% of the subjects analyzed, the teachers opted for a written exam whenever possible. The second preferred option was a distance written exam or a final exam, enhancing continuous assessment at the same time (22.22% each).
  • The most frequent hybrid model in all teaching plans (48.18% of the subjects) was to combine on-site seminars and online lectures and practical classes.
  • In most subjects, the importance of implication and personal study by all the students is emphasized, which aims to make the classes more interactive.
  • In none of the subjects on-site attendance is compulsory. Therefore, under no circumstances may nonattendance to on-site sessions be penalized. All the relevant materials must be made available online for absent students.

- Summary results of the survey conducted among all the students at the School:

  • Following last year’s 3rd-term trend, the element that students have welcomed most is the possibility to access videos of the sessions on Aula Global.
  • Students feel that they are overwhelmed with the workload. This feeling heightens, especially when subjects include:
    • Asynchronous sessions.
    • Complementary videos in preparation for the classes.

That is why we insist that the adaptation of subjects should be reviewed in terms of workload and flexibilization of deadlines.

  • Last term, an improvement has been noted in communication between teachers and students, mainly through increased use of supplementary tools.
  • It is also clearly observed that students ask for general improvement regarding the coordination between synchronous and asynchronous (and on-site) classes and the consequent increase in workload.
  • In the 1st-term subjects, the students’ preferred teaching methods were:
    • Recorded lectures uploaded and made available on Aula Global together with follow-up activities and continuous assessment.
    • Clear explanations on how the subject works from the very first day and a certain order regarding schedules.
    • The fact that sessions are synchronous is very often welcomed as an element that allows students to follow a routine.
    • Supplementary online environments allowing for more fluent communication with students.
    • Supplementary theory videos before lectures to allow for self-study and clarify concepts.
  • The better preparation of all the teaching plans and the learnings from last term have made it possible to implement effective hybrid learning models and a better online learning experience.

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