To appear in Computers & Education in 2008
Exploring student test, homework, and other assessment scores is a challenge for
most teachers, especially when attempting to identify cross-assessment weaknesses
and produce final course grades. During the course, teachers need to identify subject
weaknesses in order to help students who are struggling with a particular topic.
This identification often needs to happen across multiple assessment data points
and should be considered in comparison to the class’s progress as a whole. When
determining grades, fairness to all is essential, but there are special needs for students
who did poorly on one exam or had a steadily increasing grasp of the subject.
We present eduViz, a visualization tool designed to help teachers explore and assign
grades. Teachers can see the trajectory of student scores, the relationship of a particular
student to the class, and use categories they have defined in order to filter their
assessment information. Query response is immediate and all logical comparisons
are possible. Teachers can easily compare their query to the class or per student
average as well as view scores by raw point total or percentage. Additionally, eduViz
provides a grade assignment interface which allows teachers to view sorted student
scores in a scatterplot. This scatterplot is coupled with a unique partition slider
which allows users to move color coordinated bands on the scatterplot to indicate
grade ranges. As these grade ranges are set, a histogram is updated to show the
number of students assigned to each grade range. These features give teachers new
and powerful ways to explore and assign grades so that they can better understand
student strengths and weaknesses and make the most of the time they have available.
Interviews with sixteen expert teachers indicate that eduViz is a success across
fields, provides teachers with a useful tool to understand and help their classes, and
encourages reflective practice.