Idea Trek

Assessment Anonymity

Regardless of intentions to remain objective in judging student work, a professor's or grader's unconscious bias may arise and lead to unfair assessment. Therefore, this project aims to eliminate any potentially harmful bias by requiring that all assessments are submitted and graded anonymously.

Does your idea have funding? (this will not influence decisions to support/not support the idea) N/A

What might prevent this idea from working?

Much research has been done documenting the presence of bias—both conscious and unconscious—of professors in the classroom. One way in which these biases manifest is through the grading process (Yale Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning, 2019). In one study, professors were tasked with evaluating student oral presentations classified as either "poor" or "good" (Malouff et al., 2013). They were then directed to grade unrelated writing assignments bearing the students' names. Students who had performed well during the oral exam were much likelier to receive a high grade on their written work, regardless of its quality. This particular type of bias has been dubbed the "Halo Effect." Bias can also factor into the grading process when evaluating the work of students of different ethnicities, genders, BMIs, and levels of physical attractiveness, etc. (Staats et al., 2017).

How might this idea solve it?

The objective is to have all assessments graded anonymously to eliminate potential bias in grading. Ideally, all electronic exams will be submitted through Moodle using the anonymous testing feature pre-programmed on the website. Written exams and papers may be submitted using a student ID number in lieu of the student's name. Some exceptions can be made. For example, classes like WRI 101 that include professor involvement in the drafting process cannot stay anonymous. Additionally, assessments that require students to reflect on past experience necessitate the divulgence of personal information, and therefore cannot remain anonymous.

Who would benefit from this idea? Who are your stakeholders?

Students and professors both stand to benefit. As opposed to written assessments, online testing enables students to type faster and edit responses into more coherent arguments before submission. Faculty also benefit from online assessments as they can choose the order in which they grade questions and they are less likely to misplace assessments. This could eliminate the time it takes professors to grade assessments by making the process more efficient.

How does this idea achieve your goals for a great senior experience?

Although the objective is to have all assessments graded anonymously, there can be limitations depending on the course and discretion of professors. It will be difficult to offer specific suggestions to professors who argue they need the student's name for their course. Moreover, there can be technical problems for courses using computer programs other than moodle for grading or peer reviews, such as computer science and French.

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Idea No. 51