Category Archives: Equity and Inclusion

Equity-Minded Assessment – The Challenges

Do you hate grading essays as much as I do?

I suspect I’m not alone. In her “Why I Hate Grading” post, Katherine Pickering Antonova describes all sorts of work she’d rather do besides grading, and she concludes, “I would rather lick the bottom of a New York subway car than grade papers.” Yuck. 

Of course, many of our students hate their work being assessed as much as we hate assessing it. 

Many students feel a great deal of performance anxiety – which can get in the way of doing their best work. Some put too much weight on the importance of their grade on a specific task, confusing the grade with their potential or even their self-worth. In addition, some of them don’t know whether they can trust their instructor’s grading process.

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Stereotype Threat – What Instructors Can Do

What’s Stereotype Threat?

When students find themselves in an environment where they worry that they will be judged or treated negatively because of stereotypes about one or more facets of their identity, they become anxious and vigilant, combing their environment for how they are being viewed and trying to regulate their thoughts and emotional responses (like worry, self-doubt) to the threats.

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What we Teach about Race

Assuming we accept the idea that we need to teach more and/or better about race, before we start, we need to consider the fundamental question, WHAT do we want to teach?

I think sometimes busy faculty don’t take enough time considering this question. But as I wrote in chapter one of my book, choosing significant and meaningful goals is a crucial step in the process of designing an effective, well-integrated course in which students learn deeply and retain what they learn.

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Let’s Teach More, and/or Better, about Race

White police killed an unarmed Black man. Again. The murder of George Floyd – captured on video by 17-year-old Darnella Frazer for all the world to witness in its senseless and brazen cruelty – resulted in persistent protests around the nation. Again. By now everyone knows Floyd’s name, just as we learned the names Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Breonna Taylor, and so many others. (Yet too rarely do we know the names of or facts about police brutality towards Black women, as pointed out in the powerful exposé Say Her Name by the African American Policy Forum.) In 1991, everyone knew the name of Rodney King, and in the mid and late 1960s we watched frequent clashes with police as they resulted in burning cities. 

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