Thursday, December 13, 2012

Day 68: Practice

I'm building up the habit of weekly skills review quizzes. The math department at my school had always encouraged the idea, but I never saw much use/need under a traditional grading scale. As students forgot the content over time, skills review seemed more like a punishment, because most students would "lose" points and lower their grade. 

With SBG, Skills Review quizzes are simply mandated reassessments, which don't generally do any 'harm' to a student's grade. In a lot of cases, students perform just as well as they did in the past, but some students show improvement, and that's important to have evidence of. And since a student's grade is no longer broken into ridiculous marking period grades (just in my class, don't tell anyone - I don't think I'm supposed to do that), but instead the semester grade is simply a running average of all the standards we cover, skills review quizzes can have an immediate and drastic impact raising a students grade (also thanks in large part to the "decaying average" calculation that ActiveGrade lets me use). 

Additionally, with the traditional nonsensical sequencing of the material, I couldn't really blame students for forgetting the content, as it had no logical structure. Material covered in September didn't truly affect material learned in December, so why not forget it? With my sequencing, truly mastering linear equations is absolutely crucial to everything else we do, and will only become more important in the second semester as we transition into more complex problems with proofs. 

I'm honestly toying with the idea of making the final exam consist of only one question with MANY parts, demonstrating the connectivity of everything we've studied. The only thing to be on the look out for in that case is providing students who can't answer part a. a way to answer part b. (and so on). 

After the skills review quiz, we went over the worksheet on simplifying radicals and called it a day. 

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