Schwartz Student Evaluations 2016

Student Evaluations, Pete Schwartz Promotion Application 2016
Part of Pete Schwartz’s 2016 application for promotion

My student evaluations for the years 2004 – 2016 are summarized in the graph below, taken from this table.
Student Evals 04 - 16.png

Data for graphs is on this spreadsheet.
Evaluations of zero: These are classes for which no data are available.
2006 – 2007, I was on Sabbatical at UC Berkeley’s Energy and Resources Group so there is no entry for 2007.
2013 – 2014, I was on partial sabbatical, teaching only winter 2013 in the 2013 – 2014 academic year.

It may be instrumental to consider only the red squares (please see graph below), which are lectures in introductory physics classes. When I came to Cal Poly, I lectured in the traditional manner. I began transitioning to a more student centered classroom in 2009. In 2014, I transitioned to a “parallel pedagogy” for introductory mechanics. My student evaluations were initially consistently between 2.75 and 3.0. There was a large variability in student acceptance to our learning model as is indicated by the range from 1.45 to 3.0 as my classes transitioned to student-centered, activity based classes. Importantly, in 2013, I recognized the importance of marketing our different learning model to the students. Students watched videos and read articles that explain what we are doing differently and why this change is beneficial:
1) Our Different Way of Learning Mechanics
2) Veritassium video showing how clearly answering students’ questions results in less learning than a Socratic response.
3) That confusion (a feeling students encounter in a Socratic learning environment) may be an indicating that learning is effective.
4) A study supporting the effectiveness of group work, and revisiting concepts.
Additionally, we reflect upon our progress and feelings more actively in class, and I accept myself also as an active learner. I periodically collect students’ reflections on how they are doing; transcribe their reflections; and respond to the class (for instance as I did in week 5 of Spring of 2016) in order to let them know I am listening and acquaint students to the variety of realities that exist in the class. I hope that this both validates their response as well as introduces other options for them.

My perception is that my efforts to better market the value of our alternative learning model has resulted in an increase in student evaluations over the last three years. The numbers provide a measure of student satisfaction. Please also read all the student comments for the past year in two classes:
Read : Comprehensive Student Comments for 141 for year 2015 – 2016
Read : Comprehensive Student Comments for Appropriate Technology for 2015 – 2016

Intro Lectures Stud Evals.png
Student evaluations for only lecture classes in introductory physics classes. That is PHYS-131. PHYS-141, PHYS-132, PHYS-133.