Comparing Student Performance, "Apples to Apples"

When did it become the end of the year, incidentally? Where did I leave the rest of the year? Has anyone seen it?
We have come to the end of my first school year at Florida State University, and yet I’m still navigating some new processes. It has come time to do year-end evaluations, and I checked with my supervisor to see what our formalized process was for evaluating student performance. 
There wasn’t one.
I saw this as a chance to get creative. I had grand expectations of making all of my one-on-ones particularly interactive, novel, and delightful for my students. But amidst the shuffle of a heavy programming schedule, getting acclimated, and at times eating and sleeping, those aspirations got lost. Here I had a chance to bring them back. What were the obstacles I wished to overcome?
  • Keeping evalations interesting for myself; and
  • Preventing myself to hear the answer of “good”, “fine”, or at times even shrugging for responses
Apples to Apples held the answer.
I created a series of questions to have students describe their experience in the organization (how well they understood their skill level, how supported they felt by fellow student staff, level of support from advisors, etc.) Then, each student got a stack of green Apples to Apples cards (the adjectives). Each response could use between 1-4 green cards.
The result? Vibrant responses, a more natural interaction, and a relaxed way to assess their time in the organization. It’s not often that someone’s feelings about an organization is described as “yummy”, or that we can delve into the danger of our programs being described as “pointless” and “predictable”, but I’m happy to have given my students a fun and unique means to express their feelings and thoughts. 
How have you mixed up your end of the year evaluations? And seriously, where did the year go?

2 thoughts on “Comparing Student Performance, "Apples to Apples"

  1. This year has been the fastest year of my life with the slowest days. Sometimes I thought a day would never end but couldn't believe where the month had gone.I love this idea! Great job!

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