Patricia Lindell Scholarship - 2005
Review of Literature
Discussion and Conclusions
Extensive quantitative research has been done in the past twenty-five years on the topic of curiosity, as well as related topics, such as creativity, autonomy in learning, optimal flow, and grading and assessment. However, the bulk of the body of research concerning these topics is conducted with elementary, middle, and high school students. Curiosity, however, does not disappear when a student obtains a high school diploma, nor can it be fully quantified numerically. This study explores how curiosity manifests itself beyond high school using naturalistic inquiry strategies to better understand what undergraduate academic curiosity is.
The history of curiosity research is succinctly summarized in George Loewenstein’s “The Psychology of Curiosity: A Review and Reinterpretation,” calling curiosity “one of the most important spurs to educational attainment” (75). He proposes a theory of curiosity as “occurring when an individual’s informational reference point becomes elevated in a certain domain, drawing attention to an information gap” (91). Loewenstein also implicitly points out that measuring curiosity by numbers (as psychologists have attempted throughout the history of the research) is “extraordinarily difficult” (76), which suggests that a more naturalistic approach to answering questions about curiosity may be more effective than developing a statistical scale.
The word of choice for psychologists and statisticians who conduct studies about the topics of autonomy, optimal flow, and grading and assessment seems to be motivation, and within the many different types of motivation studied, intrinsic motivation comes closest to the issue of undergraduate curiosity. An important aspect of this intrinsic motivation is autonomy. Della M. A. Fazey and John A. Fazey find in their study, “The Potential for Autonomy in Learning: Perceptions of Competence, Motivation, and Locus of Control in First-Year Undergraduate Students” that autonomous people are intrinsically motivated. Curiosity is one of the behaviors that they find related to intrinsic motivation, and as students come closer to autonomy in their studies, intrinsic motivation and curiosity will increase.
Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan have done extensive research on autonomy in their work with Self-Determination Theory, which is “the investigation of people’s inherent growth tendencies and innate psychological needs that are the basis for their self-motivation…” ("Self Determination Theory," 68). Personal autonomy and relatedness are two of the three psychological needs they identify as essential for self-determination (the other is competence). They also argue “contexts and individual differences…that forestall autonomy…are associated with poorer motivation, performance, and well-being” (“The What and Why of Goal Pursuits,” 227). Deci and Ryan applied their Self-Determination Theory directly to education in their article, “Motivation and Education: The Self-Determination Perspective,” in which they find that being intrinsically motivated ‘result[s] in high-quality learning and conceptual understanding as well as enhanced personal growth and adjustment” (325) Vansteenkiste, Simons, Lens, Sheldon, and Deci tested the Self-Determination Theory in a 2004 study that supported the predictions of the theory, concluding that “teachers’ use of intrinsic goals for framing learning activities and their providing autonomy-supportive learning climates have significant effects for students becoming more fully dedicated and genuinely engaged in learning activities” (259).
Assessment and how it affects student engagement and motivation has major impacts on student curiosity. Nearly all formal education opportunities—and classes at Gustavus are no exception—are evaluated or graded in some form. Several studies have been conducted on topics that imply the necessity and nature of student curiosity, yet according to Jere Brophy in “Toward a Model of the Value Aspects of Motivation in Education,” he discusses the lack of research done to assess “value/interest/appreciation” (75) aspects of motivation, as opposed to more external aspects of motivation, such as mandatory assignments, grades, and deadlines. Such assignments, grades, and deadlines, Brophy argues, should reflect the value, interest, and appreciation within education curricula. Robert J. Oppenheimer writes of his experiences of trying to alter his classroom in such a way in “Increasing Student Motivation and Facilitating Learning.” Oppenheimer discusses the way students reacted to an assignment of writing specific goals for their class work near mid-term. He finds that asking students to identify ways they could improve their performance (i.e., become more autonomous) did actually help improve performance and class participation. However, it is unclear whether this mandatory goal setting raised students’ motivation or simply helped them to conform their learning to the socially desired response: “the better grade”(96). His findings certainly call for more research. External motivation is further explored in Paul Friedman’s study, “Why Students Do and Do Not Attend Classes.” In this study, fifty of the most common reasons that students used to support attending or skipping class are examined. Friedman found that intrinsic motivation was an important factor in class attendance, and higher class-attendance has a positive correlation with higher grades.
Robert E. Kay is also concerned with attendance, but on a more general level: that of school enrollment in general. His article, “Let’s Stop Teaching and Let Our Children Learn” asks the question, “Why, with so many diplomas, is productivity failing?” and argues that formal education has not lived up to its expectations. A great deal of education’s problems come from attempts to design education standards and attempts to make those standards large-scale when education is far more effective on a small or even individual environment. Getting rid of grades and assessments while concentrating on the concepts and skills that grades should be (but are not) representing would help to fix these problems in education.
Several books have also been written on the subject of standardized testing, grades, and assessments and their affect on student learning and motivation. Books such as The Testing Trap: How State Writing Assessments Control Learning by George Hillocks, Jr. and John F. Jennings' Why National Standards and Tests? offer reasons and examples of how testing and grades can inhibit student interest and motivation in a subject. Barbara E. Walvoord’s and Virginia Johnson Anderson’s Effective Grading: A Tool for Learning and Assessment shows teachers how to make grading part of learning, not just “an isolated artifact.” Dozens of books about assessment argue that standardized testing is one of the major reasons classrooms drain curiosity and creativity, instilling a bottom-line mentality in students.1
Observation of the two courses revealed several similarities. While many of these similarities were superficial (i.e., they were both English classes meeting in the same building, emphasizing reading and writing), several of these similarities reveal rich data concerning curiosity. When observing each class, ebb and flow in student energy was very evident. Both classes generally began with a greeting from the professor, then a list of announcements, asking for feedback about certain assignments, reminders about assignments that will soon be due, and any particular questions students may have. Students were clearly engaged at this early point of the class: all of them were making eye contact with the professor, many were noting a schedule change in their planners, and many were volunteering questions, such as, “So, read all of More’s Utopia for next time?” As each class began to cover the material they had read for the day (whether they did this by large group discussion, small group discussion, a lecture, or another activity), some engagement visibly went down as students gradually began slumping in their chairs. Most students took notes, but notes were generally only taken when the professor wrote down key points on the black boards. However, there were patterns to the students’ increase in energy: direct discussion questions introducing new topics were always answered more quickly than follow-up questions to topics that had been discussed for some length already. Interestingly, energy was at its highest in both classes when the students in the class perceived themselves to be off-topic. For example, on the first day of observation in American Lit II, the class was discussing The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, and noted some of their likes and dislikes about reading poetry such as T. S. Eliot’s. Poetry was considered more challenging than prose by most students in the class. “There’s so little to go on, you have to dig so deep and there’s so few words,” said one student in class. Another one chimed in, “Poetry has this stereotype that it has to be deeper than prose.” The professor summarized the answers that students gave as she set up an overhead transparency. “Many people have the same reaction to poetry—it’s hard, I must be stupid if I don’t get it…but fear not!” She turned on the projector, flipping a transparency on it that turned out to be a reproduction of the homepage of an online phobia clinic, guaranteeing a cure for “poetry phobia” in 24 hours. At this point, all faces in the class brightened, and everyone was smiling and many people were laughing, reading the overhead. Some were shaking their heads in disbelief. This was the most positively engaged point in the entire class hour. It seemed that class momentarily stopped: formal learning was suspended, and people were having fun, fully participating with the material simply because they wanted to. While “poetry phobia” is quite related to T. S. Eliot’s Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, the indirect engagement met with a much higher level of interest as students made the connection between how the text challenged them when reading it and how poetry in general challenges its readers.
This experience was not unlike an experience that took place in British Literature I: during the hour in which John Skelton’s poetry was discussed, the professor had students read “The Tunning of Eleanor Rumming” aloud, each students reading sections delineated by rhyming lines. The general mood seemed to become more alert as they read, and people found themselves chuckling (with good reason) at the words that they were reading. After reading for several minutes, the professor stopped the class to ask them what they were thinking about the material, and the students replied with answers such as, “Skelton favors couplets and five-line rhyming in both this poem and his other poem, ‘Mannerly Margery Milk and Ale,’” “he’s just writing everything he sees,” and that Skelton is “kind of like Dr. Suess.” One student in the class then said, “This is really random, but I was laughing to myself at the beginning of the poem because it reminded me of Kip’s poem to LaFawnduh in Napoleon Dynamite.” Everyone laughed then, and it was obvious to me that everyone could relate to that student’s comparison. It felt as if the class perceived themselves to have, in a sense, “turned off” the formal discussion and had temporarily stopped British Literature I. However, if students dug deeper and articulated what made this comparison easy to understand, they would certainly be “on topic.” It was fascinating to see how engaged students were if they did not think they were formally learning.
When asked questions about topics concerning curiosity, both the students in the group interviews and their professors when interviewed seemed to cite three general points that had major impacts on curiosity in the classroom: different perspectives, making connections, and how a course is evaluated and graded are crucial to curiosity in these classes. As Loewenstein says, “curiosity [is] triggered by violated expectations” (82). Different perspectives and new information were the most widely-cited sources for and stimulation of curiosity for not only students interviewed but also their professors. When asked, “What about new [information] makes you curious as opposed to things that you’ve already read before?” one American Lit student said, “the new information leads you on a different path, like a different aspect of literature in general and if you reread the same things you’ve already done and go over it, it’s like, why am I doing this?” The other student added, “And sometimes, you know, you need a new point of view…”
These new ideas also imply a sense that there is a gap in knowledge that, when curious, students acknowledge and attempt to fill. When students and professors define curiosity for themselves, knowledge gaps are frequently mentioned. One student defined his idea of curiosity as “you absolutely need to know something that you don’t know.” Another called curiosity “a further interest or a want to find out more about something…you feel compelled to like investigate more about something…It’s just like, I guess the want of more knowledge about something. Anything that is unexpected, challenging, “weird,” or uncertain, that breaks boundaries or bothers students, makes them curious. Humor and the sense of “fun” also play into this idea.
After the idea of a different perspective, the idea of connections was most common attribute of curiosity that students and professors discussed. The idea of connection is directly related to different perspectives and gaps in knowledge: in one sense, a connection is what one puts in a knowledge gap. To maintain curiosity, students must be able to regularly see connections between different texts they have read and between a text and their personal experiences. All students interviewed spoke about “connections” being very important to feeding and sustaining curiosity. The word “connection” could mean ways to relate texts they read for class to other texts in and outside of class, relating text to their previous knowledge, or relating texts to their lives. When asked about the poetry phobia discussion, the American Lit group had positive comments revealing that they were able to become more engaged with the material if they perceived it to be connected to their experiences, and poetry phobia easily connects to many students’ experiences, especially to those students that “really don’t like to read it” or that they “just don’t get it.” One interviewee said about the professor concerning the poetry phobia website, “when she makes the connection, to like our lives…or like along those lines, I don’t know, it makes it more fun.”
Students enjoy discovering connections between texts. As one student stated in answer to the question, “Do you find any sort of satisfaction from finding connections?
I do. Because then I’m just like, Ooh! I made a connection! I’m smart! That like seriously goes through my head and…for me, that’s like a big deal. It makes me really happy because then I’m just, like I’m like thinking deeper, and because, like, ok: I’m not just seeing it for being a story. I’m seeing deeper meanings and connections being—everything. It makes me excited.These connections are not only exciting for students, but also for their professors. As one stated, “Signs of curiosity for me in my…course would entail…a willingness and an interest in making connections between texts that I have not directly pointed out to them…” The other also saw connections as important:
I hope [the students] get to understand the connections that the literature has to the history and culture at the time…[for example,] can you think through historically, culturally, what you’re seeing and then can you understand what the literature is doing in reaction to that, or in terms of reflecting what it is that’s going on. So I hope for them to see those kind of connections.
Along with new information and filling gaps in knowledge through making connections, grading and evaluation impacted student curiosity. Students interviewed had many opinions on assignments, grading, and evaluation that proved to be instrumental to understanding what it is that feeds or suppresses their curiosity. Unfortunately for professors, there seems to be no easy way to engage all students through evaluation strategies or types of assignments. All students have different and complex ideas about what an ideal assignment is and how that assignment should be graded. In some cases, students are extrinsically motivated by getting high grades. As one said, “I know a B’s not bad, but a B is like, 3.0, and I need to keep above this to keep my, like to keep my scholarships.” Others gave up:
I had a class last semester where the teacher graded really really harsh, and because of it, I started not working nearly as hard. Because I start working just hard enough to pass, because I didn’t feel like I could get an A anymore. And I know that a lot of teachers think it’s a motivator, but it’s not. It just, it just turns you off immediately. And…if a teacher grades too nicely, too, at the same time, you won’t…read for his class anymore. So it’s very hard to create that medium where it motivates students with grading.Yet not every student finds that balance between “easy” and “harsh” grading is necessary.
I find that the easier a class is, the more interesting it is to me. Or the harder it is, I just don’t care anything more about it. I just don’t care anything more about what the class is, I’m just focused on, ‘ok, I just need to pass, I need to get good grades,’ that’s all I think about. But when it’s easy, I relax and enjoy it.
Perhaps after listening to the wide array of opinions students have about grading and evaluation, it is not surprising that professors are not wholly satisfied with this process either. As one said, “it seems like a necessary beast to me that I’m not really terribly pleased with.” Both professors sensed that students were feeling negative pressure about their grades. “I think there are many Gustavus students that are really hung up on grades. And, and really hung up on the sense that if you don’t get an A, then you know, you’ve failed the class.” To cope with this sense, both professors have developed forms of evaluation that take the pressure off getting the “good” grade. In British Literature I, the set of assignments is set up in a way that students are not given letter or number grades until the very end of the semester. Instead, students get their weekly imitation and explication assignments back with written comments and a score of either a check for satisfactory, a check minus for unsatisfactory, or a check plus for excellent. The students in British Literature I seem to like this system. “I think right now [the professor’s] doing a pretty good job, because we don’t actually have grades, per se…so I mean, I’m constantly trying to work hard at [it].” In American Literature II, the professor implements a similar system on a student who is “playing it too safe,” or writing assignments that are technically well-written, but take no artistic risks. As the professor states:
I will often not give a student a grade on that paper. And I’ll sit that person down and say, ‘look, here’s the deal: you know, you’re too safe about this whole thing. And I’m going to hold this grade to the side, and yep, you’re going to get your A- or your A, I mean it’s still a good, solid, excellent paper, but it’s safe, you know. Take a risk with what you’re doing and if you fail miserably you fail miserably and you get this original grade.Both professors seem to be more satisfied with students’ work when that work is not necessarily done by students who are aware that the assignments they are completing will be receiving a numerical or letter grade. If a grade is going to be given, the student cannot “take a risk.” Dislocating assignments from grades seems to allow for a higher quality of work from students.
Not only does dislocating assignments from grades seem to improve quality of assignments, but professors and students predict that the quality of how they are learning would also improve. When asked if grades were not given and assignments were not made for the classes the students were taking, many students and professors said that they would prefer learning in that environment. “I would do twice as much as they suggested,,” said one student. He went on:
If nothing was really expected, I would do infinitely more than I’m doing right now…[and I would be] much happier…I s’pose I don’t like being held up to expectations or standards or really having to do things and also, um, also being more relaxed, it would just be nicer and make me realize I want to do more things.Professors’ response to this question also revealed some positive changes that would be possible in the absence of assignments and grades. When asked about any changes that would take place in preparation and the structure of a class taught without assignments and grades, one professor said,
I would have contact hours in classroom or in discussions a lot more than I have now. In other words, I would take all the time I take to prepare assignments or grading and I would make that contact hours with the students…There would be, I think, a lot more conversation about whatever was going on in the class. Both in formal class times and informal class times.
Yet not all changes that such a system would require are considered positive by students or professors. Particularly, students that are extrinsically motivated by grades or maintaining scholarships would have trouble learning in this environment. One student experienced a similar environment to the one proposed in a class she took in a previous semester.
For our [previous class], like we didn’t have any tests, and…we had to write a letter to the teacher, and [say], this is what I feel like… and … I told her: I don’t read the books because there is no deadline… Sometimes I’ll start them, but I don’t finish, and she’s like, “that’s ok, sometimes they’re just not interesting,” and I feel like…I didn’t learn very much at all because I was just, I don’t know. I need that enforcement to be like, ok, you need to read this by then…or else I just won’t do it.Professors also see shortcomings of this type of a system. “In an ideal circumstance, it would be fantastic. It would be just digging into the form and the content and dialogue about what we see unto itself.” However this professor also says, “I’m not confident that the students I’ve taught at Gustavus would be on the whole as motivated if they weren’t getting grades and weren’t having assignments that were, uh, clearly expressing to them what they needed to do in the course…” The other professor put it this way:
I think students would distribute time differently for classes as well, you know, and maybe sometimes that might be for better or for worse…it gets back to why grades matter…If you hate [my class] and there are no grades, then why bother? You know, why bother doing the reading, why bother doing anything? At a certain point, why bother coming to class, you know? So they’re useful in this sort of authoritative role.
As observed through the “poetry phobia” and connections between John Skelton and Kip Dynamite, students and professors perceive a sort of time split for students. Students and their professors make a seemingly unconscious distinction between “class” time, in which students must limit their attention to topics and materials studied for a class, and “own” time, in which students are free to attend any topics and materials of their choice. For reasons that explain themselves, students usually prefer topics and materials that they engage with on their own time; they, in fact, elect to engage in them. In one sense, engaging with topics and materials on a student’s own time can be equated to playing, while engaging with topics and materials in class time can be equated to working. Very few students would elect to work rather than play. Class time is characterized by a sense of responsibility to be attending to studies or a discussion that would otherwise not be attended to on a student’s own time. Own time, however, is characterized by a high level of autonomy for one’s informal learning, and, in particular, a high sense of satisfying one’s curiosity in an engaging, entertaining way.
An example of this was inadvertently (but fortunately) shown through one student’s mention of reading Madame Bovary “for fun” over the summer (on her own time) and another student that was currently reading the novel for another class (on class time). The ways that the students engaged with the novel were polarizingly different. When the student said, “I read it this past summer for fun,” the other interrupted with, “I wouldn’t say that’s fun.” While this difference can be hypothetically attributed to differences in personal reading tastes, such a postulation proves problematic: both students both positively and negatively engaged with the text at times. While the student that was reading the novel for class said she had the mindset, “Ok, I have to read this for class, so let’s get it over with,” she still described her Madame Bovary reading habits with the statement, “I can get caught up if I’m reading something, and like I’m embarrassed to say, a couple times during Madame Bovary, I was kind of like [mimes being on the edge of her seat, intensely reading].” The other student, who “read it for fun,” responded to that comment with, “Like, Madame Bovary, like the main thing, I think it’s a good book, um, I love the writing style, but I hate every one of the characters.” A chiasmus takes place when one is reading on one’s own time and disliking—even hating—aspects of a novel, and reading on class time and positively engaging (at the edge of one’s seat) in a novel. This chiasmus “class” time versus “own” time creates a myth and a false dichotomy. Students, ingrained with the constructs of semesters, classes, and grades, can easily forget that they have elected to enroll in their classes—even in their academic institution. “Class” time is necessarily a student’s “own” time.
This false dichotomy is also shown through the ebb and flow of energy levels during class times. When class stops to laugh at the idea of poetry phobia or the juxtaposition of poetry by Kip Dynamite and John Skelton, students unconsciously revert to an “own” time mindset. Implications of this false dichotomy denote that ideas of class time drastically limit engagement compared to the engagement possible on a student’s “own” time, and therefore limit curiosity.
Ideas of “class” time and “own” time also affect how assignments may be approached. One of the students reading Madame Bovary voluntarily wrote a song to the tune of “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” entitled, “Emma the Angst-Ridden Whore.” The poem that resulted was very similar in many ways to the imitations students in the Brit Lit I class were assigned to write as responses to materials they read for class. The fascinating thing about this is that assigned imitations (while admitted to be useful “in the end” by Brit Lit I students) were “frustrating.” For the student reading Madame Bovary, writing an imitation “just for fun” (i.e., on “own” time) was fulfilling, fun, and cathartic. If students could free themselves from the idea of class time, a frustrating assignment could suddenly be fun. Professors and students need to work at fostering an environment that can shatter this myth of the class/own time dichotomy.
While students and professors may feel daunted by the above conclusion, both share similar views on the definitions and manifestations of curiosity. Students and professors also recognize the link between their ideas of connections and knowledge gaps: connections are what fill the gaps, and the more curious a student is, the more successful the student will be at making connections, filling the gaps, and truly engaging with the material. Despite creating an idea of “class” time and “own” time, students realize that their need for the information taught within classes is not just purely an academic need that they do not apply to the rest of their lives. In other words, students do not falsely separate their knowledge gaps in the same way they tend to falsely separate their time.
The observations and results reveal that, at times, gaps in knowledge are not perceived—or considered important—by students. In Brit Lit I, the professor and students both acknowledge a gap in knowledge concerning different types of forms the material is presented in (such as blank verse, bob-and-wheel, alliterative line, sonnet forms, and types of poetic meter, etc.), but there is some contention about how important it is to fill these knowledge gaps. In the professor’s words, “If you’re reading material in this period only for its content, you’re not getting a major component of what it was composed for, how it was received originally.” For many of the students, reading for more for form as opposed to content is a very new and difficult concept. “I get really frustrated, but that’s mostly because I’ve never really done anything with form before and I don’t quite understand it, and so I’ll be, like I can read something and I can know, like ok, this was about this, but what, what can be said about form?” Another student added, “I know I should learn more about form, because it is important to the styles and stuff, it’s just not nearly as interesting. It’s like reading a technical manual as opposed to a novel.”
The students’ frustration in this class does not stem from the students’ and professor’s mutual awareness of these knowledge gaps, but in the disagreement concerning the value of filling these knowledge gaps. Curiosity is defined by both students and professors as not only an awareness but also a desire to fill a gap in knowledge. To instill more curiosity in the classroom, more work needs to be done by classes to ensure that student desires and professor desires match. This is a complex issue that leads to a very problematic quandary: should professors conform their syllabi to live within the gaps that students desire to be filled, or to attempt to persuade students that the knowledge gaps a professor sees are worth student acknowledgement and pursuit? While this issue may prove to be a point of personal philosophy, more research on this question may be worthwhile.
While this researcher acknowledges her bias that a gradeless learning environment would be her ideal, she also acknowledges that grading and assignments are necessary parts of the learning process. However, the results above call for a shift in the emphasis currently put on grades and assignments. Considering the outside forces such as getting good jobs, or getting into a good graduate school is in part influenced by the class and grade listings on transcripts, it is very understandable that letters and numbers on those important documents are of high value. Yet people are forgetting what those letters and numbers represent: the learning, growth, and curiosity satisfied by engagement with material covered in a class. Professors are now withholding the very things that are supposed to be a mark of learning, growth, and curiosity satisfied because they hinder such things. Bluntly, grades are at times hindering education, and particularly the curiosity that enriches it. These results call for more research in the way that courses are evaluated, and an eventual re-structuring of how learning is measured.
However, professors and students are not alone in this work. The class/own time dichotomy, approaches to filling knowledge gaps, and grading and assessment issues discussed above also have implications for libraries and librarians. Libraries stand in the crossroads of “class” time and “own” time: students may decide to go to the library to study and complete assignments for class. The environment created by the physical library lends an ambiguity to the type of time students perceive themselves to be entering: while they are certainly studying and completing class work, they are doing this in a much more academically diverse environment in comparison to other study spaces such as a classroom or a residence hall. Such academic diversity may serendipitously stimulate curiosity as students discover information while informally browsing or formally researching a topic. Classes that involve extensive library research help dispel the time dichotomy, since the autonomy inherently present in research projects offer students the potential to follow their specific interests in a class that overlap “class” and “own” time. When this overlap is achieved, the dichotomy is deconstructed and the myth dispelled. Professors and librarians should take this into consideration, and act on it by encouraging students to explore the library. When this myth is dispelled, engagement in class will be on the rise, curiosity will be easier to maintain, and learning will be more active, fulfilling and interesting.
Libraries and librarians create for students and professors a space to make connections and fill knowledge gaps. Making connections within knowledge gaps is a definitive aspect of research, and learning done in a library is heavily research-oriented. Along with this idea of creating a space to fill knowledge gaps, libraries and librarians should also take note of Deci’s and Ryan’s Self-Determination Theory, a theory that brings the autonomy that research in the library cultivates into the forefront of what motivates and makes students curious. Libraries and other cultural institutions outside the classroom can be important tools used to develop the intrinsic goals and learning climates they discuss.
Libraries may hold a pointed example for course evaluation and grading: library instruction and the reference assistance a student receives is often an invaluable tool that successfully enables student learning, and does so without instilling a fear of evaluation. In some ways, librarians are already offering the types of contact hours one professor spoke of offering in the absence of assignments and grades (see p. 17). More research on these experiences and their relationship to student curiosity in the classroom and classroom assessment is needed.
If educators desire curious, creative students, they should be prepared for drastic changes in the look and feel of a class. Libraries, too, offer a rich environment to nurture student curiosity. Curiosity, it may be concluded, killed a cat, but the classroom, its content, and its evaluation is wholly lifeless without it.
1. Several books with strong opinions about standardized tests can be found without leaving Folke Bernadotte’s print collection. Some of these titles include Testing and Standards: A Brief Encyclopedia, Assessing Student Performance, and Teaching and Learning in College: A Resource for Educators. Chapters such as, “More than a Thermometer: Using Assessment Effectively” (found in Teaching and Learning in College) are of particular interest.
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Silvia, P. J. "Interest and Interests: The Psychology of Constructive Capriciousness." Review of General Psychology 5 (2001): 270-90. http://search.epnet.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=epref&an=RGP.E.BGJ.SILVIA.IIPCC.
The Boyer Commission on Educating Undergraduates in the Research University. “REINVENTING UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION:A Blueprint for America's Research Universities." Boyer Commission. August 7 2001. Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library. http://www.naples.cc.sunysb.edu/Pres/boyer.nsf.
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Walvoord, Barbara E., and Virginia Johnson Anderson. Effective Grading: A Tool for Learning and Assessment. 1st ed. Vol. 1. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, Inc., 1998.
last updated 5/05