Using Reflections on Learning As Assessments

As instructors look for alternative ways to asses student learning while teaching remotely, Professor Hayley Hesseln in the College of Agriculture and Bioresources has a method that she’s used for students in her Agricultural Economics course, delivered both online and face-to-face.

Hesseln, a USask Master Teacher, assigns students to write a reflective paper about their learning for the final exam. She’s remarked that it can be quite surprising how such an activity can show evidence of student learning.

She usually has students read an article about what learning means and has used the article “What Did You Learn Today” by Alan Samuel, but notes that there are other articles that may work for this as well.
“I find that by allowing students to tell me what they learned, they realize they learned much more than they initially thought,” explains Hesseln. “Having to put it into words and having them discuss the application and importance also embeds the lessons that much further.”
The questions that Hesseln uses for her final are in general terms and could be easily used in other disciplines:
  1. What did you learn (do not give me a list of topics or repeat lectures.
  2. Why is it important to you?
  3. How will you use it (consider your job, future classes, higher education, life in general).
Hesseln provides learners with a rubric (shown below), written from the perspective of a student to guide their writing and allow her to mark their work.
Reflective Paper Rubric

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