All posts by Jayashree G

Data Evangelist, Report Bee

Teacher, Friend, Mentor…A Big Pillar of My Life!!

 

Teacher's day2

 

Teachers, as we know, are the only ones who are mentioned in the same breath as Gods and Parents. They are the leading light in a kid’s life; people who children always ape and learn from. A good teacher is always a ray of hope and a guidance to children. Teachers play a key role in shaping children’s mind-sets and thought processes, even long after they have ceased to remain children. They almost always lead by example, which to me, is the best way to teach someone. Teachers have always been kind and strict at the same time while ensuring that we tread the path of learning and progress.

On this occasion of Teacher’s Day, I am nostalgic about all those excellent teachers who kindled the spark in me and enabled me to evolve into a successful adult in both, my personal and professional life. I shall always carry their guiding words with me and will do my best to put to good use. As we grow and become adults, we meet different kinds of people in various walks of life. But for some reason, a few of them always remain in our memory; they have a very special place in our hearts. On a day like this, I want to mention two such teachers who are the best Gurus of my life. Thank you, Teachers!

My childhood teacher, Ms. Meenakshi, taught me Sanskrit at Jawahar Higher Secondary School, Neyveli. Ever since my very early days as a student, I have always had a longing passion for this wonderful language and what it constitutes. This longing became a reality due to the efforts of this particular Aacharya. She started off as a geography teacher, but developed interest in Sanskrit and started learning it at a later part of her life. She started doing a certification course in Sanskrit at a private institute and inspired me to join that as well. We hit it off well from the start and in due course of time, our relationship strengthened as teacher-student as well as evolved into close friendship. She has since become an inspiration for me to keep learning new things throughout my life. Not only is she a really good teacher, but also a very compassionate and kind hearted person. She has always gone the extra mile and taken interest in not just my education but in my personal well-being and growth as well. Not only has her teachings helped me in understanding the depth and richness of the literature of this language, but also apply its precious subhashithaani (good sayings) in my day to day life. I have always looked up to her for both guidance and advice even after becoming an adult and a parent. She is a marvellous person to know and a great Guru!!

I was fortunate enough to find another great Guru during my Masters in Dr. Hemalatha Thyagarajan who taught me at National Institute of Technology (NIT), Trichy. She is my role model in almost everything, from my career to personal life. She is a vibrant person who is defined by her dynamism and display of energy. I have always wished to have at least 10% of the energy and courage that she has. She is such an inspiring personality!! When I joined NIT, students used to be terrified of her. But during my stint at NIT, I was able to see that she was so very genuine and ultra-talented in her field. She did her Ph.D. in Operations Research from University of Texas (Austin, USA) when her son was going to school in Trichy. All my passion for Operations research and my pursuance of Ph.D. in Supply Chain Management are purely inspired by her.

Professors normally teach their subjects but she is one of those who mentored me in my personal life as well. During rapidly ongoing college placements, I was placed with a couple of offers but she opened me up to an entirely new world back then: she introduced me to DATA ANALYTICS and motivated me to work for a start-up. Yep! it was she who introduced me to the start-up world and the fun of working in it. Not just that, even when I have felt emotionally drained or downtrodden, she has helped me recover from it. I am grateful for her support especially when I had a tug of war in convincing my family for my love marriage; she gave me a shoulder to lean on and the confidence that I was on the right path of life. Thanks to her, I am blessed with a very understanding and great husband as well as a family for everyone to envy! She is one big pillar of my life!!

I take this opportunity to salute all the wonderful teachers, who tirelessly (and most thanklessly) strive to create bright futures for both our children and the society at large. I hope the next generations also enjoy the pleasures of finding the right teacher, who can shape up their life and create a better tomorrow.

(A special composition to commemorate Teacher’s Day 2014)

 

Assessments – Developing and Beyond!

Assessments in a school are a critical part of educational instruction. It determines if the goals of education are being met. Assessment results provide phenomenal information about the extent to which students and schools are meeting standards and what they need to do to improve.

There are six main types of assessments: diagnostic, formative, summative, norm-referenced, criterion-referenced, and interim/benchmarked.

And in each of these there can be five main question types: multiple choice, constructed response, extended constructed response, technology enhanced, and performance task.

It can be in three delivery methods of assessment: paper and pencil, online, or computer adaptive testing.

Finally the scoring can be done in three different ways: by hand, by computer, or distributed scoring.

One of the most popular way to do assessment is the multiple choice questions, MCQ.

MCQ is a form of assessment to evaluate a test-takers skill, knowledge and understanding of a subject. And of late, we see many examinations are following the

MCQ styles in their evaluation.

Most of us at RB are aware of these terms – Bloom’s level evaluation. But what’s this Bloom’s level? Curious, right?! Here we go, Benjamin Bloom was an American educational psychologist who classified the learning objectives into three main domains cognitive, affective and psychomotor.

Cognitive domain revolves around knowledge, comprehension and critical thinking on a particular subject.

Blooms taxonomy on cognitive domain is the one that excites me the most, being in the education industry.

 

Bloom's Taxonomy

Bloom’s Taxonomy

MCQ’ are good –

  • Easy to evaluate when done to a larger population or on a regular interval
  • Allows the instructor to evaluate the class’s performance on a wider range of content taught
  • Easy for the students to answer many questions in the given time about 45-60 seconds per question
  • Performance can be compared between classes and across years
  • Incorrect alternatives provide diagnostic information

MCQ’ are tricky to handle –

  • Each item should be short and clear
  • Independent items without overlap
  • Avoid negatively stated items
  • Avoid clues to correct answers
  • High degree of dependence on the student’s reading ability and the instructor’s writing ability
  • May encourage guessing

Once we have developed the right set of questions, we can test them for few of the key features of student assessment methods: Validity of the questions – content and the construct.

Some of the parameters commonly used to assess the validity of MCQ items are:

Difficulty index – calculated as the percentage of students that rightly answered the item. If the percentage values of the items are above 90%, then the questions cannot be reused again, as it’s a very easy question for the targeted audience.

On the other hand, if the percentage values are any lesser than 20%, then the questions have to be reviewed again for the content and the construct, as it’s a very tough question.

Discrimination index – describes the ability of an item to distinguish between the high and low scorers. Scorers of upper and lower 27% of the overall exam is separated out. Higher the value, more discriminating the test is!

  • Greater than 30% – good discrimination, we can reuse the questions
  • 20 to 30% – Needs an improvement to the questions
  • Less than 20% – poor discrimination, we will have to reject these questions. This means that the low performing studentsselected the correct answers more often than the high scorers.

Distractor efficiency – This is yet another tool to tell if the item was well constructed or not. The quality of distractors influences student’s performances on a test question. Ideally, low scorers
would choose to select the distractors, whereas the high scorers will select the right option. All of the incorrect options, or distracters, should actually be distracting. Preferably, each distracter should be selected by a greater proportion of the lower group than of the upper group. If, in a five-option multiple-choice item, only one distracter is effective, the item is, for all practical purposes, a two-option item. Existence of five options does not automatically guarantee that the item will operate as a five-choice item.