Sunday, October 18, 2009

MET: the Math Exit Test at Pierce

At Pierce College there is an MET for elementary algebra and an MET for intermediate algebra. All instructors of those classes are required to have their students participate, but each instructor determines how the MET scores will be weighted in the students' grades.

The MET has both multiple choice and "essay" parts, all submitted on a Scantron form. Instructors volunteer to meet after the exam to team grade the essay questions--the volunteers may but need not be instructors of the relevant courses.

The MET was designed as way to measure the department's success at achieving its stated Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) in elementary and intermediate algebra. Each instructor is given summaries of his/her students' performance, as well as the summaries across all sections.

The department learns on which problems students overall perform well and on which they perform poorly. Individual instructors can compare their students performance with those of the entire department.

The department chair announced to the department that one intermediate algebra instructor (Kathy Yoshiwara) had far more students in the top 10% than any other instructor. Not officially discussed was the fact that one (anonymous) elementary algebra instructor had an unusually large number of students finishing the semester for a grade, with all scoring below the department MET mean, and providing a class average a few standard deviations below the department MET mean.

Guess which algebra instructor is a favorite among students, the counseling department, and our Special Services faculty and staff?

1 comment:

Richard said...

So I'm guessing it wasn't Kathy. Oh do I yearn for a student who values learning over grades.