Our college has implemented Starfish Retention Solutions, an online system designed to enhance advising and student success. Starfish offers the opportunity to create “Kudos” for individual students in each of my classes. Initially, I assigned a Kudo to each student who earned an “A” on a big exam. Student response was remarkably positive, with verbal and email thanks from recipients. More recently, I have used the “Showing improvement” Kudo for students who have made significant progress but may not yet have reached the upper tier of performance. These students seem to be even more pleased to receive the encouragement, perhaps because their efforts aren’t as frequently acknowledged.
Why do Kudos work? Students are surprised to find little goodies in their inboxes. The messages allow them to own something of value. Above all, the praise offers convincing evidence that they are meeting an achievable challenge.
It takes only a few moments to enter the Kudos after each major assessment, as Starfish is easily accessible via BlackBoard. So far, I have only used the ready-made messages, but I plan to come up with some more original and personal versions for next term. Have you tried assigning Kudos yet? How did your students respond?