Presentations from Michigan University 24.11.21

Assessment & Feedback SIG Wednesday 24th November 14:00-15:30 (UK)
Please join us for the next Assessment & Feedback Special Interest Group where we will have presentations from external speakers, Cait Hayward and August Evrard, from Michigan University.

Letter grades have long served as signaling mechanisms between an institution’s faculty and its students, and making the Dean’s List remains an aspiration of students on most American campuses.  In this presentation, we offer three short talks with a common thread of student advantages and barriers.  We first demonstrate that increased selectivity – the tendency of an institution to admit students with increasingly higher standardized test scores – is an important factor in the rise of undergraduate grades over the past decade.  The findings allow us to refine measures of faculty-related grade inflation, and we introduce grade susceptibility, the conditional distribution of student grade earned as a function of incoming standardized test score, as a measure with broader potential application.  We then pivot to a study of student grades in large STEM courses across multiple institutions that features an integer variable, a systemic advantage index, incorporating dimensions of birth sex, underrepresented minority status, family income, and first-generation college status.  Across seven public US universities, students with high advantage index earn consistently higher grades than their low advantage counterparts, objective evidence that corroborates the persistence of systemic inequities in American STEM education. We conclude with a current project that aims to identify particular courses where systemic advantages are most impactful on student grades, and share these patterns with instructors via a rich data report that highlights opportunities for potential pedagogical changes. 

Prof. August E. (Gus) Evrard is a computational cosmologist and educational innovator at the University of Michigan. Author of the first algorithm to enable multi-fluid cosmological simulations of galaxy formation, Prof. Evrard’s astrophysical research aims to understand clusters of galaxies, the rarest and largest gravitationally bound systems in the universe.  Named a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2012, his research is documented in over 280 refereed papers with more than 28,000 citations. Within Michigan’s Center for Academic Innovation he leads two service-oriented projects used by many thousands of students each year:  Atlas offers visual summaries of the recent academic landscape for the Ann Arbor campus while Problem Roulette is a stress-free study zone that provides equal access to locally authored exam content.

Dr. Cait Hayward leads the research and development portfolio at the University of Michigan Center for Academic Innovation, with a focus on ensuring that projects are taking advantage of the vast amount of data available to them to inform design, iteration, and prioritization. She is responsible for managing the educational and operational research teams and provides data analysis, research design, and creative problem-solving to initiatives at all stages across Academic Innovation. Prior to her role at the Center for Academic Innovation, Cait co-founded and led the development of the GradeCraft platform. Her primary research areas are learning analytics, gameful pedagogy, and novel educational technologies.

For an invite to this event or to be added to the Assessment & Feedback Special Interest Group mailing list please contact openTEL.