"An educated mind is a questioning mind. Or is it?" ~ T.S. Welti

On Grades, Learning Outcomes Assessment,
and Learner-Centeredness

by Rafael A. Pulmano, CPA, MBA

Where do I begin?

Know thy students

So, having resolved that students, or learners, ought to be at the center of my instruction, I asked myself: How well did I know them, really?

Not much, I admit.

Beyond their names, the only other thing I knew for sure about them were their grades and attendance, which I kept manually in my class record.

Fortunately, not anymore. We now have computers!

My current electronic class record (e-record), thanks to technology's incredible power, allows me to use digital spreadsheets with an almost infinite number of rows and columns to store and process a vast array of student data.

So now, in addition to the usual stuff (i.e., students' names in alphabetical order and the daily records of their attendance and grades), my e-record also contains students' photos, seat plan, and interactive tables, charts and graphs that automatically refresh and update whenever new data are added. In other words, this e-record doesn't just accept data; it crunches and manipulates those data in real-time and returns information that are extremely valuable to me as instructor.

For example, having copy-pasted to my e-record the list of my students and related information that I downloaded from the college's student information system (Table 1), I was able to create (right there in my e-record) charts that showed, at a glance, the demographic groups to which my students belonged (Charts 1 to 4).

TABLE 1 – List of Students and Related Information

CHARTS 1 TO 4 – Student Demographics

< Back | Next >

Virtual crystal ball
Tracking student performance
Assessing student learning outcomes

NOTE: The decision regarding content and design of the e-record I am using now wasn't made in one sitting. Like my own journey from being teacher- to learner-centered, it took years of painstaking efforts, and they continue to evolve as I get new ideas and develop a better understanding of how to blend technology with education. Some enhancements to my e-record were influenced by changes I introduced in my teaching strategies. Sometimes, it's the other way around. I've modified some of my teaching strategies to complement changes I've made in my e-record. I discuss those changes here.

This page does not reflect an official position of the College of Micronesia-FSM

2017 Rafael A. Pulmano. Design by Andreas Viklund | Modified by Jason Cole