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Evaluate the Performance of Adult Learners

Updated on October 23, 2016
Jacqueline4390 profile image

Jacqueline Williamson graduated with a BBA in Personnel Admin., an MPA in HR Management and an MS in Education.

Does your student understand what he will be evaluated on?
Does your student understand what he will be evaluated on?

Teachers Evaluating Adult Learners

Evaluation is a frequent and expected human behavior. We all do it regularly, whether we are consciously using meticulous and evidently definite standards or taking a more informal and intuitive approach to making value judgments about daily situations.

The benefits of evaluation extend well beyond providing learners with tangible evidence that their time is well-spent. When learners of any age acquire instantaneous, recurrent, and positive feedback about their progress, they consistently learn more, retain more, and are more motivated to continue with their learning experiences.

As an instructor, you will also need the information that can be derived from appraisal activities. It can help you recognize learners that are ready to move on to new learning experiences and learners that need supplementary facilitation in certain areas. It can also help you determine what changes you require in making your instructional plans that will accommodate individual needs.

Evaluation...

Evaluation is a process by which you

  1. Gather information about the quality of the teaching/learning process and the achievement of objectives and
  2. Use the information to make educational decisions and improve the instructional process.

When to Evaluate...

Generally speaking, there are three major evaluation phases:

  • Preassessment
  • Assessment of progress, and
  • Postassessment.

Preassessment involves evaluating learners’ skills and knowledge in a specific area just before or at the beginning of a program (or course or learning activity).

Assessment of student progress should be an ongoing process and should occur at regular times throughout the program.

Postassessment occurs at the end of a program or segment of a program.

Evaluation Strategies...

Informal Evaluation

During the program, you will find that you are most often involved in informal evaluation activities. These can include

  1. Observing students as they learn and perform various tasks,
  2. Talking to individual learners find solutions to problems that they have, and achievements,
  3. Helping learners find solutions to problems that they have, and
  4. Setting and maintaining an open-door policy that encourages learners to approach you for feedback.

Formal Evaluation

Formal evaluation involves the use of evaluation instruments and grading systems. Using these instruments and systems is generally not extremely difficult, but you will need to understand some basic principles, steps, and guidelines in order to use them fairly and effectively.

Class participation can have a positive effect on evaluating students.
Class participation can have a positive effect on evaluating students.

Determining Student Grades...

Grades represent judgments that a teacher makes about students’ achievement of the performance objectives and specific criteria within a course. A grading system is a way of arriving at and reporting those judgments so that they are meaningful to others. You should not select a grading system arbitrarily, but should consult administrators, teachers, employers, and students to determine what type of grade reports they need.

Open and complete communication with students is crucial if grades are to provide feedback and motivate students to learn. Students need to know what performance objectives they are responsible for and how their performance will be converted into grades. They need to know when they will be graded and what influence each individual grade will have on their final grade. Students will consider their grades fair and reasonable only to the extent that they understand how their grades are determined.

Your school has its own grading policies, and you need to be familiar with these when selecting the system you will use in your own class. Does your institution require letter grades? Do you have to give written final examinations? When are grade reporting periods? What types of student evaluations may be used to determine student grades?

Traditional marks are commonly used to grade tests, quizzes, and written work. They can also be used to grade laboratory work and out-of-school performance. However, it is crucial that you establish and follow clear criteria when assigning traditional grades.

Discussing a grading contract with your students can be a great way of assisting them in meeting both your goals and theirs.
Discussing a grading contract with your students can be a great way of assisting them in meeting both your goals and theirs.

Contract Grading

Contract grading allows a student to make a contract with the instructor for a particular scope of work and to receive a predetermined grade after meeting the terms of the contract. There are several types of contract grading and each offers more or less freedom to the student and demands different degrees of maturity and responsibility.

  • Student Proposals – gives students complete freedom to do whatever they choose in order to receive their final grade. The instructor should ask students to write down what they plan to do for the grading period. The instructor reviews each student’s proposal and decides whether it is acceptable. He/she could devise a list of tasks and their individual point value. Total points needed might be 500 to achieve a grade of A. He or she could then ask the students to write down which of the tasks and how many of them they wanted to do in order to reach the 500 points. The instructor might also ask for the date each task is expected to be completed. The student would then be required to complete each task by the assigned date. The student could choose those tasks in areas where they might be strong and not choose those where they might be weak.
  • Verbal grade contract – the scope of the work is specified but students are allowed to decide how much weight each type of work will have in determining their final grade. Therefore, students would assign more weight to their strong areas than to their weak areas in contracting their final grades.

Course Evaluation Procedures:

This is an example of one procedure:

The “Grade Equivalent” for the course is a numerical score derived from the “Grade Standards” listed in the next paragraph, and has a maximum value of 100. The conversion of the grade equivalent to the letter grade for the course is as follows:

A 90-100

B 80-89

C 70-79

D 60-69

F 59 & below

Grade Standards: Test 70%

Individual Presentations 15%

Class Participation 15%

Class Participation: Class participation is mandatory. It will consist of both individual and group activities. If you are assigned a chapter to review, and you are not present, you must arrange with the instructor for an alternative presentation. Assignments of chapter review will be at the discretion of the instructor. Class participation is 15% of your final grade.

Individual Presentations: Each student is responsible for bringing into class and briefly explaining one (1) article related to a chapter discussed in class. A special sheet for article “sign up” will be circulated around the classroom.

Makeup: There is no makeup test. If you find that you will be absent for a scheduled test, unless it is a proven family crisis/emergency, that particular test score will be recorded as “zero”. This is to encourage participation and also to stress the importance of class attendance!

Attendance: The standard school policy regarding absences and their effect on the grading scale will be applied.

Self-Evaluation

As a part of the grading system, the instructor might ask students to grade themselves. If this is done, certain prerequisites are necessary for it to be successful.

  1. Students must understand that they are to evaluate their own performance in an objective, accurate manner.
  2. Students must learn to recognize various levels of achievement.

The instructor can then provide students with models or examples of various levels of performance (A, B, C, D, F, or satisfactory or unsatisfactory) to use in self-evaluation.

The instructor could provide score sheets that itemize each element of the required performance. This score sheet would illustrate the type of objective guidelines students need in order to evaluate their performance successfully. After students have given themselves a grade, they should be asked to explain why they evaluated their performance as they did.

F 59 & below

Grade Standards: Test 70%

Individual Presentations 15%

Class Participation 15%

Class Participation: Class participation is mandatory. It will consist of both individual and group activities. If you are assigned a chapter to review, and you are not present, you must arrange with the instructor for an alternative presentation. Assignments of chapter review will be at the discretion of the instructor. Class participation is 15% of your final grade.

Individual Presentations: Each student is responsible for bringing into class and briefly explaining one (1) article related to a chapter discussed in class. A special sheet for article “sign up” will be circulated around the classroom.

Makeup: There is no makeup test. If you find that you will be absent for a scheduled test, unless it is a proven family crisis/emergency, that particular test score will be recorded as “zero”. This is to encourage participation and also to stress the importance of class attendance!

Attendance: The standard school policy regarding absences and their effect on the grading scale will be applied.

Always take time to help eliminate any doubt in your evaluation rationale.
Always take time to help eliminate any doubt in your evaluation rationale.

In Summation ...

A final reason to evaluate is that as a requirement of your employment; it is imperative that you monitor and report learners’ progression at specified intervals. Education is expensive, and expenditures must be measured. Industries and businesses incorporating training programs are interested in the “bottom line”:

  • Is their investment paying off?
  • Is the training program cost-effective?
  • Are trainees learning the skills they need in an effective and efficient manner?

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    • Jacqueline4390 profile image
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      Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS 3 years ago from Memphis

      "Contract Grading" can be an innovative way of empowering students in the achievement of academic excellence!

    • kerlund74 profile image

      kerlund74 3 years ago from Sweden

      An important issue you bring up here. Evaluation is necessary to find the target, which I mean is the learning goals and so on.

    • Jacqueline4390 profile image
      Author

      Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS 3 years ago from Memphis

      Yes, sometimes we perceive evaluations as stressful even when we are students and not employees. But they are a necessary part of life. If a living thing doesn't grow, it dies.

    • Jacqueline4390 profile image
      Author

      Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS 3 years ago from Memphis

      Because of the different outside stimulus that interfere with adults learners; they may require more feedback than their younger counterparts.

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