Two nongraded techniques are described that assess student expectations and learning in horticulture classes. These involve anonymous, in-class student responses that can encourage and enhance interaction, communication, and learning without being a burden to the instructor. During the first class meeting, students were given 5 minutes to write their course objectives onto filing cards. By summarizing their objectives, reviewing them with the class at the beginning of the next period, and comparing their objectives with mine, I was able to react to student interests and needs in a constructive manner. About once per week at the end of a lecture, students were given 3 minutes to write the “muddiest point” of that lecture. This enabled me to clarify points orally, in writing, or by specific reading assignments. If the instructor responds in a timely manner, these assessment techniques will be taken seriously by the students. Such techniques can increase interest, understanding, and the perception that students can have a positive influence on the quality of their instruction.
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