Improving Student Learning

Strategies for Improving Student Learning

Students learn most effectively when they have the opportunity to revise their work. Opportunities to make multiple revisions should be provided, or a large project should be divided into multiple, smaller parts. Initiate a system of peer-review based on well-written rubrics of assessment.

Students should understand course and program goals—which need to be included in the syllabus—and should be provided with a rationale and framework discussing why and how the material from the course will help them improve their skills in the program.

Students should understand the characteristics of excellent work. Provide assessment blueprints. Show what students are expected to master for the test. Present rubrics of excellent work that make grading more accessible and offer students a diagnostic for their work.

Students perform better when:

  • They are academically challenged and encouraged to focus on developing higher-order thinking skills, such as critical thinking and problem solving, as well as discipline-specific knowledge.
  • They spend more time actively involved in learning and less time listening to lectures.
  • They engage in multidimensional “real world” tasks.
  • Their learning styles are accommodated.
  • They have positive interactions with faculty and work collaboratively with fellow students. All learners—students and professors—respect and value others as learners.
  • They participate in out-of-class activities, such as co-curricular activities and service learning opportunities that build on what they are learning in the classroom.
  • Assignments and assessments are intertwined with learning activities and focus on the most important course and program goals.
  • They reflect on what and how they have learned.
  • They have a culminating “capstone” experience, such as a seminar, internship, independent study, research project, or thesis that lets them synthesize what they have learned over the course of their college experience.

List constructed following guidelines from Middle States Commission on Higher Education