Robust Feedback within English Courseware

Hawkes Learning’s Practice mode gives students ample feedback when they answer questions incorrectly. Several different tutorial options are available to students, including Explain Error, which provides error-specific feedback immediately when the mistake is made; Hint, which gives students a clue as to how they can answer the question correctly if they’re still struggling; and Solution, which states the correct answer.

Students can then try a similar question in order to test their knowledge. Once they feel comfortable with the material in Practice, students move on to the Certify mode, which does not provide learning aids in order to hold students accountable for their learning.

Check out two examples of the robust feedback provided in Practice below:

In Foundations of English‘s Chapter 4: Grammar and Mechanics, the courseware asks the following:

Does the following sentence use pronoun-antecedent agreement? Select the best answer.

Damien is running for class president, and his sister is helping them with the campaign.

The two choices are the following:
  • Yes, this sentence uses pronoun-antecedent agreement.
  • No, this sentence does not use pronoun-antecedent agreement.

If students select the first answer, the courseware provides this feedback:

Explain Error

Your Answer: Yes, this sentence uses pronoun-antecedent agreement.

You were asked to determine if the following sentence uses pronoun-antecedent agreement:

Damien is running for class president, and his sister is helping them with the campaign.

 

Your answer is incorrect because the pronoun is plural and neutral, but the antecedent is singular and male.

For a hint to solve this problem, select Hint.

Hint

You were asked to determine if the following sentence uses pronoun-antecedent agreement:

Damien is running for class president, and his sister is helping them with the campaign.

 

Remember, for a pronoun and its antecedent to agree, they must have the same gender and number. The gender of words can be female, male, or neutral. The number is either singular or plural.

If an antecedent is neutral and refers to a person or animal, it can be used with a male or female pronoun based on the other information in the sentence. However, inanimate objects do not have gender, so they are always renamed with neutral pronouns.

Take a look at the following sentence that includes both a pronoun and its antecedent:

Jennifer always makes the dessert because she is the best baker.

The pronoun she agrees with its antecedent Jennifer (the noun it renames). Both words are singular in number and female in gender. This is what you look for when checking for pronoun-antecedent agreement.

 

Solution

You were asked to determine if the following sentence uses pronoun-antecedent agreement:

Damien is running for class president, and his sister is helping them with the campaign.

The following answer is correct:

No, this sentence does not use pronoun-antecedent agreement.

The pronoun them is plural and neutral, but the antecedent Damien is singular and male.


In Foundations of English‘s Chapter 5: Style, the courseware asks the following:

Read the following passage.

People from all across the country enter the contest, and they all want their own shot at fame. Fame is fleeting, but these people do not care. They all believe they will be “the next big thing.” Even when disappointment comes crashing down on them, they still struggle and claw their way back up. Being content is not something humans are good at.
 
 
Which sentences do not use coordination to join clauses? Select all that apply.

Click on a word or word group to make a selection. To undo, click on the selection again. Alternatively use the Tab and spacebar to select or deselect the word or word group.

Students receive error-specific feedback when they select the following sentence from the passage: Even when disappointment comes crashing down on them, they still struggle and claw their way back up.

Use this grammar diagnostic test to target which lessons students must master.

Customize the way students learn.

Save class time and identify individual areas of weakness for remediation with Hawkes Learning’s free grammar diagnostic test! Click through a demonstration of the test at your own pace.

This 50-question assessment identifies areas of proficiency and specific knowledge gaps for individual students. A customized curriculum is developed for each student to strengthen their grammar skills and eliminate those errors from their writing.

A report shows student progress in both a pie chart and bar graph. The part of the graphs in green represents the number of correct answers, while pink represents the number of incorrect answers. The bar graph breaks down each lesson number.

The tailored learning path through the grammar curriculum provides students the opportunity to learn, practice, and then master each topic. Let Hawkes assist you in ensuring these skills become second nature for your students, helping them become more effective communicators of their ideas.

While diagnostic tests are pre-created to save you time for both Hawkes Learning’s Foundations of English and English Composition courses, you can also customize either by removing or adding questions based on your own lesson objectives.

As you click through the demonstration here, you’ll see how students access their assessment, answer questions, and receive a performance breakdown of each topic covered in the test.


Want to see more? Contact your Hawkes courseware specialist at 1-800-426-9538 or sales@hawkeslearning.com today!

Instructor advice on motivating students

Having trouble motivating your students to stay active and engaged in class? We understand that some days, it can be a struggle. Current and former instructors here at Hawkes Learning have provided advice on how to keep students motivated. Check it out below, then let us know what advice YOU have!

In-class

  • Consider announcing a 3-point bonus question before your first test, and make it a scavenger hunt. Ask for three things (one point each): 1. What is written on your office door? (This encourages students to find your office.) 2. What is one name of a tutor in the tutoring lab? (This encourages them to find the tutoring lab.) 3. What are the hours for the tutoring lab? (This knowledge helps them if they need to schedule an appointment.)
  • Take attendance. Even if attendance isn’t part of the grade, it shows students that you’re aware whether or not they come to class and participate.
  • Get students to speak. A few will always take the lead and constantly ask questions, while some will never open their mouths. Directly ask those students a question. Hearing their voice and knowing it’s being heard has a positive effect and can lead them to speak up without being prompted later on.

Online

  • Post discussions and message boards. Since you can’t talk face-to-face, the next best thing is to utilize these communications threads.
  • Remind students that they never stop learning because technology changes so often. Use the online environment to your advantage by showing students new communications tools and apps that they can adapt to and learn from.
  • Hold virtual office hours for students who have questions or need a little extra help.

Math

  • Have a large class? Consider the “shared birthday” problem. A class of 30 students has over a 70% chance of having at least one shared birthday among them. A class of 40 students has almost 90%. If you happen to have one or more shared birthdays in the class, they never forget it and it gets them interested from the start.
  • Collect noninvasive data from your class to use throughout the semester. Asking at the beginning of the term for information like students’ majors, favorite sport, and number of siblings gives you data to incorporate in your lessons that will keep students interested.
  • Math courses have historically had a stigma for math anxiety for some students. Be reassuring and encouraging to your students, and provide opportunities for success that will help supply confidence and a positive momentum through the course.

English

  • Give students options! Anytime students can decide on an element of their learning, they get more invested in the outcome. Let them choose a project partner, reading selection, or project option.
  • Allow students to revise and resubmit assignments based on your feedback to improve their grades and strengthen their learning.
  • Put students in the role of instructor. Assign them a reading passage that they are responsible for teaching to part or all of the class. Teaching is the best way to learn a new concept!

Have more tips? We’d love to hear them! Comment below with your tried and true tips on keeping students motivated and engaged.

Additional Questions in Foundations of English Composition

New questions are available in the curriculum for Foundations of English. We’ve expanded the question bank so that you can assign more material related to reading skills and grammar & mechanics. Check out which questions are new below, then assign them using the Assignment Builder in your Hawkes Grade Book!

Lesson Question Serial No.
2.1 11
12
13
14
15
2.2 11
12
13
14
15
2.3 11
12
13
14
15
4.3 21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
4.6 15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
4.7 18
19
20
4.8 12
13
14
15
16
4.12 19
20
5.6 30

Additional Questions in English Composition

New questions are available in the curriculum for English Composition. We’ve expanded the question bank so that you can assign more material related to different parts of the essay, critical reading & writing skills, and more. Check out which questions are new below, then assign them using the Assignment Builder in your Hawkes Grade Book!

Lesson Question Serial No.
1.1 12
13
14
15
1.2 11
12
13
14
15
1.3 11
12
13
14
15
1.4 11
12
13
14
15
1.5 11
12
13
1.6 11
12
13
14
15
1.7 11
12
13
14
15
1.8 11
12
13
14
15
1.9 14
15
2.1 11
12
13
14
15
2.2 11
12
13
14
15
2.3 11
12
13
14
15
2.4 11
12
13
14
15
3.1 11
12
13
14
15
3.2 11
12
13
14
15
3.3 13
14
15
3.4 11
12
13
14
15
3.5 11
12
13
14
15
3.6 11
12
13
14
15
4.1 11
12
13
14
15
4.2 11
12
13
14
15
4.3 11
12
13
14
15
4.4 11
12
13
14
15
4.5 11
12
13
14
15
4.6 11
12
13
14
15
5.1 11
12
13
14
15
5.2 13
14
15
5.3 11
12
13
14
15
5.4 6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
5.5 11
12
13
14
15
5.6 11
12
13
14
15
5.7 11
12
13
14
15
5.8 11
12
13
14
15
5.9 11
12
13
14
15
5.10 11
12
13
14
15
6.1 6
7
8
9
10
6.2 6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
6.3 11
12
13
14
15
6.4 11
12
13
14
15
6.5 6
7
8
9
10
6.6 11
12
13
14
15
6.7 11
12
13
14
15
6.8 6
7
8
9
10
7.1 9
10

3 Ways to Strengthen Your Students’ Critical Thinking Skills

Psychologist Benjamin Bloom published his now widely spread document in education, “Taxonomy of Educational Objectives,” in 1956. In it, he and his team specify three domains of learning: affective, psychomotor, and cognitive. While the affective domain refers to the emotions, motivations, and attitudes of students, the psychomotor domain focuses on their motor skills.

The cognitive domain—arguably the most influential in a student’s success—covers six categories (according to the revised version of Bloom’s Taxonomy by Anderson & Krathwohl, et al (2001)):

  • Remembering
  • Understanding
  • Applying
  • Analyzing
  • Evaluating
  • Creating

These categories start with memorizing and defining what’s learned in class, build toward drawing connections among different ideas and applying them outside of class, then lead to creating your own work by using what you’ve learned (Armstrong). Building upon these processes develops students’ critical thinking and reasoning skills, which are more important today than ever before. (Pssst! Check out key definitions and verbs to describe each category here from Vanderbilt University’s Center for Teaching.)

So, how can you help students strengthen their critical thinking and reasoning? Below are three ways to incorporate these skills into any curriculum.

1. Allow time within class to brainstorm after asking an open-ended question.

Students need time on their own to think about how to solve a problem, as well as time to talk out their strategies with other students. Problem solving is a key component to critical thinking, and brainstorming gives students the opportunity to explore different perspectives and possible solutions in a low-pressure environment. According to Lee Crockett Watanabe from Global Digital Citizen Foundation, asking a question that can’t simply be answered with a yes or no encourages students to seek out the necessary knowledge on their own (“12 Strong Strategies for Effectively Teaching Critical Thinking Skills.”). Students must use the skills associated with the cognitive domain, such as recalling what they already know about the problem, analyzing different strategies to solve it, and evaluating the quality of each solution.

2. Compare and contrast different ideas. 

Once students learn and understand different approaches to solving a problem, they can evaluate the qualities of each approach. Which one is easier? Which is the most thorough? Which makes the most sense to use in this context? Students need to judge the strengths and weaknesses of varying solutions in order to decide their next steps in solving the problem. Creating a pro/con chart can help, as well as a pro/pro chart, according to instructor Jason Watt. In a pro/pro chart, students see the positives of different perspectives by listing out only the good traits of each, bringing a fresh take to an old decision-making strategy. Watt explains that a pro/pro chart can help students try to find the positives in what they originally thought of as a weakness, allowing them to get creative with their thinking and less intimated to do so (Schwartz).

3. Get them thinking about thinking.

In the revised version of Bloom’s Taxonomy, metacognitive knowledge includes strategy, self-knowledge, and contextual and conditional knowledge (Armstrong). To increase their critical thinking skills, students need to think about how they think. If they pause to reflect upon how they’re studying and learning the class content, they may just improve their grades. Dr. Patricia Chen, a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford, conducted a study in which she asked a group of her students several prompts asking them to think about how they’re studying for an upcoming test and how they could improve their studying. She only reminded a second student group that the test was coming up. The first group outperformed the students who did not reflect on their studying by 1/3 of a letter grade on average (Anderson). Check out more information on the study.

When students analyze their own thinking techniques and visualize how they want to perform on assessments, they develop critical strategies to set goals and determine which resources work best for their unique learning processes. These skills can help students improve their grades, and they’ll transfer over when students are learning in other classes, navigating the workplace, and facing the challenges of daily life.

 

Have other ways to help improve students’ cognitive domains and critical thinking skills? Please share them in the comments below!

 


Anderson, Jenny. “A Stanford researcher’s 15-minute study hack lifts B+ students into the As.” Quartz, 9 May 2017, https://qz.com/978273/a-stanford-professors-15-minute-study-hack-improves-test-grades-by-a-third-of-a-grade/. Accessed 5 June 2017.

Armstrong, Patricia. “Bloom’s Taxonomy.” Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching, https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/blooms-taxonomy/. Accessed 12 June 2017.

Schwartz, Katrina. “Three Tools for Teaching Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Skills.” KQED News, 6 Nov. 2016, https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2016/11/06/three-tools-for-teaching-critical-thinking-and-problem-solving-skills/. Accessed 13 June 2017.

Watanabe Crockett, Lee. “12 Strong Strategies for Effectively Teaching Critical Thinking Skills.” Global Digital Citizen Foundation, 13 March 2017, https://globaldigitalcitizen.org/12-strategies-teaching-critical-thinking-skills. Accessed 12 June 2017.