Early Signaling Program Continues

Caroline Fassett, Senior Writer

As a continuation of last semester’s pilot program, University faculty will be inputting early signals that represent evaluations of their students’ behavior in classes from Feb. 11-15. The program receiving these signals is the called the early signaling pilot program, which is continuing after its launch last semester.

Green, yellow, and red signals address the behavior of students in class, and are sent out to students the fourth week of each semester. Students who receive green signals from professors, meaning that they are not exhibiting any behavioral problems in class, are not notified about the color they receive.

Associate Dean of Engineering Karen Marosi represented the College of Engineering for the group that devised and implemented this program. Marosi said that one of the biggest confusions last semester was that students who received signals believed that the colors represented their academic performances rather than their academic behaviors.

“If there was one thing that we could communicate to students that’s really important, it’s that these are not like midterms. They are not [academic] performance indicators. They are behavior indicators,” Marosi said.

Marosi said that the point of this program is to distinguish early on which students are struggling in their classes. The students who have multiple yellow or red signals (i.e. the students who aren’t turning in work or aren’t participating) are the ones who need the most help in modifying their behavior.

“The goal is to help people before the semester has gotten so long that they’re really in a jam. Not only are we looking at the individual classes, but we’re also searching for patterns [of yellow and red colors]. A student who is managing three classes and not getting it together in one is probably in a very different state than a student who can’t manage any,” Marosi said.

While representatives Marosi and Associate Dean of Arts & Sciences Rich Robbins offer assistance for struggling students, they understand that it’s the students’ responsibility to improve their own behaviors in class. Additionally, they encourage faculty to reach out to them about problems in students’ behaviors throughout the duration of the semester rather than waiting until the fourth week in.

“Faculty can always email us. Bucknell has a fantastic culture of faculty reaching out, and we would never want them to stop doing that, because the faster I get to a student who may have issues and concerns or needs help, the better everybody is,” Marosi said.

Marosi said that while the system itself received positive feedback from the faculty, the students’ responses were somewhat mixed due to their misinterpretation that the system indicates academic performance rather than behavioral performance.

“If we had any negative comments, they were largely stemming from the fact that we’re actually doing something different, and looking for a different set of indicators,” Marosi said.

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