How do you know they are Learning? Introducing the CES Classroom Learning Instrument

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Assessment of classroom learning is commonly conducted using both written and performance tests (e.g., presentations, portfolios). Little, however, is known about what classroom characteristics indicate high quality classroom learning (Downer, et al., 2007). This study addressed this limitation and contributed to the research on classroom learning assessment by 1) defining the construct of classroom learning in terms of cognitive, behavioral, and psychological dimensions; 2) identifying key factors/behaviors which most indicate learning; and 3) developing an instrument to assess classroom learning.

This two-year qualitative study employed a grounded theory method with an emergent design using two research methods: participant observation and individual interviews. The research site was the Education Department of a public university located on the east coast of the U.S. Naturalistic/descriptive classroom observation with two college professors was conducted weekly. Individual interviews with two professors and twelve students were also conducted.

This study developed the CES Classroom Learning Instrument. The fundamental philosophies behind CES are: 1) learning is individual and should be assessed individually; 2) learning is change; 3) these changes are multi-dimensional (cognitive, behavioral, social, affective, psychological); and 4) these changes are observable through external indicators. CES respectively stands for three external indicators: cognitive continuity, emotional involvement, and social harmony. Cognitive continuity refers to students’ continuing cognitive engagement after class (e.g., discussions with peers) or continued self-exploration (e.g., wondering, exploring). Emotional involvement is students’ display of strong (either positive or negative) emotions. Positive emotions include feeling expressed, understood, appreciated, respected, confident, or satisfied; negative emotions can be feeling misunderstood, confused, frustrated, challenged, embarrassed, disrespected, or angry. Social harmony means the students develop a sense of community where they feel connected with each other.


Keywords: Learning, Classroom Learning, Definition of Learning, Learning Instrument, Assessment of Learning
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: , , , How Do You Know They Are Learning


Dr. Dengting Boyanton

Assistant Professor, Curriculum & Instruction, University of Texas at Brownsville
Brownsville, Texas, USA

Boyanton is an assistant professor of Educational Psychology teaching learning and cognition courses in the School of Education at the University of Texas at Brownsville. She has been interested in the areas of cognition and student learning for many years. Boyanton has given several presentations on student learning in both national and international conferences. Boyanton is currently a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and a member of American Educational Research Association (AERA). Boyanton has directed four programs in the past four years at the University of Virginia: UVa Culturefest, Chinese Traditional Dance Team, UVa in Shanghai Chinese Language Program, and Chinese Corner. Boyanton is also the founder of two programs: She Chinese Traditional Dance Team (2004) and the Chinese Corner (2007).

Ref: L08P0470