October is here. There’s a chilly crispness to the air and the leaves are turning brilliant hues of orange and red. For many of us, it’s a beautiful, uplifting, time of the year that releases rushes of serotonin. For students, though, it can also be a time when thoughts turn to mid-terms, and feelings of dread set in along with high stress levels. According to the American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment II (2019), stress is one of the three principal impediments to student success. And students report being unwell in academic environments. Per the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (2022), an advocacy group representing 22 student associations nationwide, a staggering three quarters of students reported experiencing negative mental health while studying during the 2021-2022 school year. These are serious concerns because students’ well-being has a bearing not only on their own success, but on a society’s ability to flourish. We, in higher education, need to give these concerns our attention.
One strategy for fostering healthier learning environments is to leverage assessment practices to support student learning because assessment is at the core of learning experiences. Indeed, as Lynam & Cachia (2018) have shown, assessment is one of the areas that has the potential to most directly affect students’ engagement in learning. Importantly, assessment also has an impact on student well-being (Yeh & Krumboltz, 1995).
To spark much-needed discussions around assessment for learning and its potential to foster healthier learning environments, in which both student and instructor well-being are paramount, we invite you to listen to a podcast. We’re excited to announce that the Teach.Learn.Share podcast is launching with a miniseries on assessment and well-being. Over five episodes, we invite you to tune in to our conversations with seven members of the McGill community. Each interviewee provides their unique perspective on a range of topics, such as how emotions are tied to learning and grades, what some of the misconceptions and long-standing stumbling blocks around assessment are, and how assessment practices can foster an inclusive learning culture. Every episode will also include concrete assessment strategies and calls to action to foster healthy learning environments.
So, with the arrival of mid-terms this fall, we invite you to listen in to a preview of Teach.Learn.Share’s miniseries on assessment and well-being.
- Subscribe to Teach.Learn.Share on your favourite podcast player
- Stay tuned for more posts about Teach.Learn.Share.
- Making assessment of student learning a priority and promoting healthier learning environments are also integral to McGill’s new Policy on Assessment of Student Learning, which takes effect in Fall 2024.
American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment II. (2019). Canadian reference group – Executive summary.
Canadian Alliance of Student Associations. (2022). The new abnormal: New study finds post-secondary students struggling to manage mental health.
Lynam, S., & Cachia, M. (2018). Students’ perceptions of the role of assessments at higher education. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 43(2), 223-234.
Yeh, C. J., & Krumboltz, J. D. (1995). The impact of a non-competitive grading system on learning. ERIC Number: ED398173.