Closing the Gap

Planning Guide: Using Points to Encourage Student Behavior

A new year and academic term is just around the corner! In this post, I continue with our “Back to Class” series to share a teaching practice that you may find helpful as you plan for a new semester—whether in a classroom or a virtual learning environment—to support deeper engagement and learning.

Using Points to Encourage Student Behavior

The use of points, sometimes referred to as “gamification,” can be leveraged to encourage the types of learning activities or behaviors you recognize as having a positive effect on student success in your course. Offering a small number of points as an incentive for students to engage in these behaviors can help to build good habits that students will continue using. This planning guide from our course in Effective Teaching Practices offers a quick and easy way to incentivize students to:

1) Do things that will benefit them academically
2) Build community in their online course
3) Build professional skills
4) Offer anonymous feedback to the instructor to improve the course and instruction

You may find this planning guide helpful: Using Points to Encourage Student Behavior.

Laurie Pendleton


Have a great class!

Laurie Pendleton, Executive Director of Curriculum and Assessment, ACUE

Quality Teaching and Learning

Our “Directive”: Quality Teaching and Learning: Change Magazine

ChangeThe cover of this Fall’s Change magazine features a clarion call for student success and equity through quality instruction. Authored by ACUE’s Meghan Snow, executive director of analytics, and Jonathan Gyurko, president and co-founder, the piece summarizes six years of ACUE’s research on effective teaching and program evaluations with partner colleges and universities. Studies use a research-based methodology and show improved academic achievement and closed equity gaps among students taught by ACUE-credentialed educators. One analysis further estimates the sizable financial return to an institution based on greater student completion and anticipated retention.

The 14 reviewed studies examine data from more than 700 ACUE-credentialed faculty and more than 69,000 students enrolled in their courses. Studies compared their student outcomes to achievement data for more than 75,000 student enrollments from courses taught by over 5,300 colleagues who have not yet participated in an ACUE program (or to student outcomes prior to the faculty member’s participation), with statistically significant differences. Independent reviewers noted that, collectively, this constitutes one of the largest bodies of research reinforcing the link between faculty development, changes in teaching practices, and the consequent impact on student outcomes.