Professor Sarojini Nadar

TEACHING PORTFOLIO STATEMENT 
2014
HELTASA AND CHE
NATIONAL EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING AWARD APPLICATION
CATEGORY: LEADER IN THE FIELD OF LEARNING AND TEACHING

3. Assessment of Student Work

“The assessment challenged me to apply the theory to the case study, which was good.” 
Student: RELG 702/2010
APPENDIX B3

Because one of my main aims in teaching is to develop critical thought; the ability of students to apply their knowledge rather than regurgitate what they have rote learned is something that I aim for in my assessment of student work. Hence, most of my assessments wish to assess high-order thinking which reflects all levels of Bloom’s taxonomy. Feminist pedagogy is also concerned with the development of critical thinking. Therefore, my assessments are both formative and summative.

I do not believe that one can test a student on something that one has not set out to teach them, and I certainly do not believe in setting traps for students. This is why at postgraduate level; I prefer to give the students term papers instead of exams, as a form of summative assessment. (See APPENDIX D3 for term paper questions contained in the module outline for the course THEO716/816). In addition to this I also want to develop the students’ ability to write, and so I build into the process of writing their papers, a proposal writing and draft stage before I receive their final papers for evaluation, which counts for formative assessment (See APPENDIX D3). 

Her approach to teaching is theoretically grounded. Reflective practice, a democratic orientation, expert knowledge and pedagogical knowledge are markers of her professionalism in the classroom.
Dr. Nyna Amin
Recipient of the 2012 UKZN Distinguished Teachers Award

Peer Evaluation: APPENDIX C3

A creative form of assessment is a principle of feminist pedagogy. See for example APPENDIX D4 which contains the course outline for the Honours/Masters module: Theory and Method. In this course I required students to write a sermon (creative expression) undergirded by the theories they had learned. This is in line with feminist ways of teaching – not only is it creative in delivery but in assessment too. However, creativity in assessment has its limits as I quickly discovered! The assignments submitted were of a very poor quality, with many students who really struggled to apply academic knowledge to what was essentially a “popular” assignment (See APPENDIX I1). It was for this reason that I did not prescribe the same assignment the following year.

When marking assignments I mark electronically as this gives me more room for comments, and I also use a marking band schedule so that the students can see exactly why they received the mark they did (See APPENDIX I2 for an example of a marked essay with the marking bands).

When I do use examinations as a form of summative assessment, I ensure that my exam questions are very detailed (see APPENDIX J for a copy of the exam for the course BIST220). I use extensive quotes and detail exactly what I would like the students to write about. In fact my colleagues have often complained that my questions ‘use up too many trees’!

In addition to the assessments which I provide for my own undergraduate and postgraduate teaching modules, I also provide summative assessments externally. As these reviews and examination reports are confidential I am unable to reproduce them here, but can share them with permission if need be. 

  • Reviewing proposals and writing detailed reports at both Faculty (outside my discipline) and school level.
  • Being internal examiner for UKZN and external examiner for Universities of Cape Town, South Africa, and Malawi.
  • Being a coordinating examiner for the school and in my position as Dean for Research I had to ratify all coordinating reports at Masters and PhD levels in the College of Humanities.




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