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Assessing Graduate Student Work: An Emotional and Relational Perspective

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Assessment is a critical activity in the life of a professor. The authors’ interest in professors’ internal experiences of assessment led them to conduct a grounded theory study in which they interviewed 16 faculty teaching in social science and pre-professional programs, asking them to reflect on assessing master’s thesis and capstone projects. They identified two primary domains of assessment activity—Visible and Unseen. Within these domains, they recognized Understanding Self as the assessor and Being in Relationship with students as the core dimensions that professors described as central to assessing student work. The authors propose a model of professors’ internal experiences of assessment and suggest that a deeper understanding of the relational and emotional dynamics of teaching situates faculty to be more intentional and effective in responding to students and student work.
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... While this sourcebook focuses primarily on emotion, we also include considerations of phenomena particularly relevant to teaching that are likely to be considered affective states such as burnout. Robertson (1999Robertson ( , 2001 and Schwartz and Holloway (2017) have proposed models in which the teacher' s emotional awareness and experience is central. Robertson (2001) urges us as teachers to attend to our emotions and the intersubjective systems "that develop from the interaction of the inner experiences of teachers and students" (p. ...
... He argued that faculty and students are better served when faculty learn to recognize feelings such as annoyance, fear, guilt, anger, sadness, and love in the teaching realm, asserting that these "feelings will reveal themselves and affect the teaching/learning ecology and the educational helping relationships with students whether or not the teacher is aware of them" (Robertson 2001, 10). Schwartz and Holloway (2017) conducted a grounded theory study in which they explored master' s faculty experiences of assessing student work. Faculty in the study reflecting on assessing thesis and capstone projects recalled feeling anger, frustration, sadness, joy, and satisfaction as well as experiences that reveal moments of countertransference (projection of feelings from an earlier or other significant relationship onto a student or current interaction). ...
... Several studies have provided valuable insight into the inner experience of college teachers, and their findings provide useful perspectives for NEW DIRECTIONS FOR TEACHING AND LEARNING • DOI: 10.1002/tl academic advisors. Schwartz and Holloway (2017) examined faculty members' experiences of assessing student work and found that grading involves a significant emotional investment on the part of faculty. Teachers in their study described their anger, frustration, and sadness as they assessed the work of students who are underprepared, resistant to feedback, and even combative. ...
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