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How to Facilitate Assessment in Your Online Course | Mary Merchant, Dallas College

We interviewed Dallas College Professor, Mary Merchant, about bringing assessment into your online mathematics course.

How would you recommend a new faculty member get started?

“If you are fully on board the mastery train, the best method of assessment in ALEKS is a Scheduled Comprehensive Knowledge Check because it assesses mastery across the entirety of the course.

If you aren't a mastery cheerleader and like to retain the traditional tests, that works, but it's important to note that if you give a review for a test prior to the test, while you do want students to study, you also encourage them to focus on only what's on the review, not everything. When I was using a traditional final exam with ALEKS, I found many students were doing great on the final exam but had mastered less than 70% of course topics. Once we transitioned to a Comprehensive Knowledge Check as the Final Exam, the grade on the Knowledge Check was right in line with the percent of the course they had mastered, both of which lined up quite nicely with the grade in the class.”

What specific ALEKS tools would you recommend using?

“Using Respondus Monitor to proctor assessments in ALEKS adds to the beauty. Now we can make sure the student enrolled in the class is the student completing the assessment. After the first time using Respondus Monitor, students are quite comfortable and there are few, if any, problems. The ability to proctor like this makes our results and success rates even more legitimate!”

About the Author

Mary Merchant knew from a young age that she wanted to be a teacher. She taught public high school for 13 years in the Dallas/Houston area and was a cheer coach while working on her Master’s Degree. For the past 10 years, she has been at Cedar Valley College which is the smallest of the seven Dallas County Community Colleges. She served as the Mathematics Coordinator for 7 years and is now the Secretary for the Faculty Association.

Profile Photo of Mary Merchant