Another thing I did in the First Year Seminar on Tuesday was to show them Gardner’s APGAR post. I asked the students to answer the questions for themselves. I had set up a spreadsheet on the classroom computer and asked students to come up and key in their responses one at a time.
I was very pleased (and more than a little surprised) that they seemed to take this seriously. No one laughed or otherwise indicated that they thought the questions out of the realm of reason. Out of 10 possible points, the class average score was 1.0, with the individual student scores ranging from 0.6 to 1.6. I pointed out that this was essentially a measure of their preparation for class. They inferred that 10% was a failing grade, and several students mentioned that they hadn’t been able to keep up with the work as much as they would like to recently. They seemed sincere and contrite, not at all like students in my other classes when asked similar questions.
Interestingly enough, as I was preparing for this class over the last 24 hours, I felt pressure to do a complete job as I imagined being asked to answer the APGAR questions myself.
We’ll have to try this again on a regular basis and see what comes of it. Thanks Gardner!