Friday, December 20, 2013

SBG Final Exam (Redux)

Last year I created a new way to administer a final exam. I got sick of writing a cumulative final, let alone trying to grade it. I refuse to use multiple-guess assessments, so I was left with an insurmountable pile of grading during finals week. 

I was very happy with how my SBG Final Exam turned out, so I'll be bringing it back this year, with only a couple of tweaks on last year's inaugural run. 

The basics:

  • Each class covers 25 standards within a semester
  • Students pick which standards they'd like to demonstrate proficiency on during the 90 minute final exam period
    • Sign up is done through a Google form
  • Students must pick a minimum of 10 standards, but they are welcome to pick more
    • Blank assessments beyond the minimum 10 will be thrown away
  • Each assessment will be brief - approximately 5-6 questions per standard. 
  • ALL grades will be recorded, for better or for worse
    • Yes, a student's grade can be lowered, but that shouldn't happen if only standards below proficient are chosen
  • Students are encouraged to pick the standards which offer the best opportunity to show growth
    • A student shouldn't spend too much time on standards that are 'beyond hope'
My overall thought process through all this is that if a student has demonstrated proficiency over the course of a semester between formative and summative assessments, why should they need to take yet another assessment on those topics? This setup allows students to focus their study on only those standards that have yet to be mastered. 

The downside? The prep work. I need to write 25 new assessments for each of my 3 subjects. Fortunately, this is only a one-time issue. It does get a little tedious to print out and collate each student's final exam, but I believe that it's worth the effort to ensure that I'm collecting accurate data on what my students have learned. After all, isn't that what we're supposed to be doing?