Monday, February 08, 2010

LERT evaluation process flawed?

A commenter wrote this:

How about the necessity of defining what we try to do in each class as part of the ongoing LERT reform? Since we are restricted to only three choices, I was very disappointed to have to say that I DON'T teach writing in my class, and that I DON'T teach critical analysis of concepts, etc., etc. The process seems ridiculously reductionist.

These are good questions--we looked at the descriptions as a department last month.  People were disturbed by the language that told us all that we do not teach writing in our classes.  It looked like the English department convinced LERT that only they could teach writing!


Lammers said...

I am not on the "inside" of LERT, but I suspect the restriction to three primary attributes is a reflection of the Biblical adage about "no man can serve two masters" (or in this case, four or more).

Every good class has a wide range of attributes. But simple constraints of time and logistics mean we cannot devote equal effort and emphasis to all. Yes, I assign a writing assignment or two -- but do I really *stress* that to the extent that I stress attributes such as problem-solving?

I think it is understood that many more things than three will happen in every course, just as a whole bunch of horses are on the racetrack. But let's just focus on the Top 3, on Win, Place, and Show.

Anonymous said...

I was inside LERT and can tell you that it has problems, most of which have to do with the fact that the ideas come from administration, not faculty, and the faculty people running the thing are..well...a little slow. It's probably best not to participate in what they're doing.
And as far as the english dept thinking they are the ones to teach're right, most of them DO think that, but, in fact, few of them actually can do it effectively.

Anonymous said...

Tom: I get that, but if I assign a 15-20 page research paper, send students to tutorials on how to write, make them submit a rough draft and a final draft, both of which are graded, and provide extensive comments on both drafts, then there should be space for me to say that I teach writing. But that's not what my courses are "about," and so I have been instructed not to claim this by the committee. The result is that the LERT committee will not have a very accurate picture of what our students are being taught. Garbage in, garbage out, as the data collectors are fond of saying.

And I am left wondering if I have been played for a chump all these years. If I am not teaching writing, why should I go through all the hard work that I have been doing on that front?

Lammers said...

Is there one of the three things that you said it is "about" that really would be outweighed by the writing? If so, I'd X it, and list the writing.