Thursday, July 31, 2008

Graphing Multidimensional Data for Learning

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Nils Peterson, Theron DesRosier, Jayme Jacobson

This post is in a series exploring issues related to transforming the grade book. Most recently we have been developing elements of the implementation of these ideas, and have been asking if it is credible that students and faculty and academic programs could learn from this data.

Below is a rendering of data previously collected in a rating session on a self-reflection document created by student employees as part of their job performance review. This study was done in collaboration between the WSU Career Center and our office. The rubric had five dimensions, and the scale ranged from 1 to 6, 6 being highest, 4 being competent. Three groups were involved in the rating: students (peers), faculty and external employers. The employers were recruiters from major companies in Washington state, who were on campus as part of their student recruiting work.
(click to enlarge image)

The five dimensions of the rubric are plotted in this radar graph with each dimension having its origin in the center of the pentagon and its highest possible value at the outer edge. The three groups of raters are shown as colored regions. This diagram shows a familiar story: students rate peers more highly than faculty and employers think the least highly of student abilities. The diagram also shows that in teamwork and communication each group agrees students are underprepared (vertices which are below competency). In Mission, students think they are competent while others disagree. In use of Evidence, faculty and students each think students are prepared, but employers disagree. Only in Duties do all three groups agree that students are prepared.

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