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Using learning diaries to enhance student learning and to improve fairness of assessment of student work

Development
Methods
Education
Gabriela Pleschova
Department of Political Science, Comenius University Faculty of Arts
Gabriela Pleschova
Department of Political Science, Comenius University Faculty of Arts
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Abstract

This paper aims to investigate the use of a learning diary as a tool for an improved learning in Liberal Arts and as a fairer tool while assessing student learning. When studying their course China and Central Europe students kept a brief learning diary noting after each class what new they have learnt. In their weekly entries, students were expected to document how their understanding of various phenomena studied in the course changed as a result of reading the assigned literature and participating in in-class discussions and further learning activities. Students could, for example, keep track of various perspectives they gained on the problems studied, making a record of any contradictions or parallels in the views offered by various authors, classmates or teacher. Learning diary was also one component of students’ final assessment, which was aimed as a way of rewarding not only those students who frequently speak in the class, but also shier students. The purpose of this study is to document if student learning diaries could evidence the level of change in student understanding of the problems studied as well as to notice cases of misperceptions. Moreover, it discusses if learning diaries can become a fairer assessment tool than the rates for students’ weekly in-class participation.