Category Archives: Write6x6

What your zip code may be saying about you.

By: Eddie Lamperez, Coordinator of Institutional Effectiveness

Glendale Community College has a diverse student body. The zip code in which a student resides can tell us a lot about them. The top five zip codes for GCC students include four that surround GCC Main and one that is adjacent to GCC North.

  • 85302 (1,438 students). Location: Glendale. Median Household Income: $47,884. Most common educational intent: university/college transfer. Most common ethnicity: White. Percent that are first generation students: 58%.
  • 85345 (1,329 students). Location: Peoria. Median Household Income: $49,014. Most common educational intent: university/college transfer. Most common ethnicity: White. Percent that are first generation students: 64%.
  • 85308 (1,245 students). Location: Glendale and Phoenix. Median Household Income: $70,701. Most common educational intent: university/college transfer. Most common ethnicity: White. Percent that are first generation students: 40%.
  • 85301 (1,103 students). Location: Glendale. Median Household Income: $31,254. Most common educational intent: university/college transfer. Most common ethnicity: Hispanic. Percent that are first generation students: 72%.
  • 85303 (789 students). Location: Glendale. Median Household Income: $52,301. Most common educational intent: university/college transfer. Most common ethnicity: Hispanic. Percent that are first generation students: 67%.

If you are from the zip codes that surround GCC Main then you are more likely to be Hispanic or White, working class or middle class, and a first generation college student. If you are from a zip code adjacent to GCC North, then you are more likely to be middle class or upper middle class, White, and have parents who graduated from college. Regardless of zip code, your intent is likely to be transfer to a college or university and earn a bachelor’s degree. We embrace the  diversity of our students at GCC; helping all of our students achieve their goals is our mission.

Learn more about GCC students by visiting: http://www2.gccaz.edu/departments/administrative/spa/research


I believe in you.

6th grade. I don’t even remember her name, but my 6th grade teacher commended me on using the correct too (two/to/too).   It was at that point I felt that what I had to say (and write) in class mattered.  It set a standard for me academically; and I didn’t want to be less than what the teacher said I was (smart!).

I wish I could remember her name and thank her for believing in me more than I did.

 

Using Rubrics to Get the Desired Result

Today, I am known as a guy who loves all things technology, am married to Canvas and wishes Bill Gates would finally come over for dinner.

The driving force behind this technological leaning does not lie in my love for the electronical arts, quite the contrary, it lies in my beginnings as a History teacher.  During this stage of my career (my  first year) I wanted students to constantly grow to improve.  I did this through a variety of projects, but one in particular was done every single week: the weekly 15 page essay.

Essays are incredible tools that can help students and can really get involvement and buy in.  I used a variety of methods to allow for an interest in writing.  What I did not expect was how grading 248 essays every single weekend for a  year would affect me.  I began looking for ways to quicken the grading process and limiting questions on what they had to do and then more questions about why they got what they got.  I did what any self respecting 20 something year old would do…I ran home to mama.

My mother is a former English teacher and she said one word to me: rubric.  Using a rubric saved me tons of time in grading since the majority of comments tend to be similar and I could just use the one I gave in the rubric as a guide.  They also helped the students to better understand what was required for a certain grade.  Rubrics saved my weekends and I will forever be grateful to both my mother and rubrics.

Today we have online tools such as the Canvas Rubric that allows us to automatically give scores by choosing the comment from a grid.

This grid speeds up grading, gives comments to the student and speeds up the process incredibly.  Creating the rubric itself is simplified by using your current rubrics, borrowing from other teachers or using websites such as Rubistar to give you the wording you need and then copy and paste that wording into Canvas.

All in all, I did learn a whole lot from my first year teaching, enough to fill a book.  When it comes to a lesson that I use constantly and see as a way to help instructors, rubrics come right up to the top of the list.  If you have never used one, please try it.  Adding Canvas to the mix will make it even more useful.  If you wish to try, please contact canvas@gccaz.edu or try this useful site!

 

Sincerity is best

I learned to be sincere in my teaching when I was teaching at Mesa Community College. I am not good at “edutainment” teaching, I tend to be quite straight forward in my approach, and I thought that students would not like me as an instructor because I was not very exciting. In my second year of teaching at Mesa, I was awarded a Teacher of the Year award. I wondered why, and one of the student that nominated me told me the reason was because I cared about their learning. She said that it was clear that I cared, and that the caring was what mattered, not the “smoke and mirrors” and dazzling effects. I have always remembered to be sincere in my caring and approach, and let the rest take care of itself.

 

Frequent Assessment

This post is about how changing from chapter tests (one test roughly every 3 weeks) to weekly quizzes dramatically changed the success rates of my students.

I used college algebra students as my guinea pigs. When I looked at my students from fall 96 through fall 98, I saw that they had a 50% chance of passing, 10% chance of a D or F and a 40% chance of withdrawing. Not being happy with these statistics I began a conversation with my wife who taught 2nd grade. She said “Test them more!” So, being a good husband, I complied. Starting in Fall 99 through Fall 2004 I gathered data on how my college algebra students did when I switched from 6 chapter tests and a final to, 13 weekly quizzes a midterm and a final. The results were that now 78% were passing, 7% were receiving a D or F and 15% were withdrawing. Also, I gave the same final that I gave from Fall 96-98 and the scores on my comprehensive final were the same, at around 73% average.

Therefore, I encourage all of you who teach to consider more frequent assessment. There is also a byproduct that I hadn’t anticipated besides the better success rate. That was, that I found that grading smaller tests once a week was not as daunting as looking at a pill of large tests every 3rd week. Grading isn’t as disliked by me as it once was.

Give this a try and as the ad said many many years ago “Mikey Likes It!”