Earthquake Analysis Paper

Kaatje Kraft
Mesa Community College
This activity requires students to link what they have learned in class to current earthquakes around the world. They are required to analyze two different earthquakes, and then compare the two for similarities and differences.

What learning is this evaluation activity designed to assess?

The goals of this assignment are for students to:
1) Critically evaluate how "real world" earthquakes compare to what has been discussed in class.
2) Compare and contrast how the damage affiliated with earthquakes can differ.

What is the nature of the teaching/learning situation for which your evaluation has been designed?

This assignment is designed for students to negotiate meaning from their class notes to a real world setting. This activity is meant to be a summative evaluation of their learning.

What advice would you give others using this evaluation?

I have gone through a "C" paper with the students, I have them critically evaluate it and then we discuss it as a class. This shows them what aspects I will be looking for, and I also provide them an opporunity to submit their ideas for what I should be grading them on. I provide them with a rubric before they hand in the assignment, based on their comments and my own. I also have students perform peer reviews on each others papers.

These strategies have helped to have higher quality analysis papers.

Are there particular things about this evaluation that you would like to discuss with the workshop participants? Particular aspects on which you would like feedback?

I am finding that students are not taking the peer reviews seriously--how can I emphasize the importance of this? I have tried providing "point" incentive--but then they provide peer reviews without actually making any changes. Plus the quality of peer reviews greatly differs. I offer them the opportunity for me to do a peer review for them or to take it to the on-campus writing center, but with a commuting population of students, these are not always options. I'm thinking about online evaluations, but I don't know much about how that would work (if it would).

I would like to be able to provide feedback and let them revise their papers, but that means a lot more grading time for me. I assign analysis papers for volcanoes and mass wasting as well as earthquakes--do I cut out an analysis paper in order to offer feedback/revision options? Research clearly shows that doing the same kind of writing assignment improves writing and comprehension. So I'm torn.

Lastly, I think my assignment itself could use some clarifications (what do they need to hand in, what format should it be, etc...)--but I also don't want to make it too strictly bound by constraints.

Evaluation Materials