The Beginning Is Near

14 Aug

The annual “I hope you are having a wonderful summer … but school is about to begin” letter arrived in the mail the other day. That means it is seriously time to start thinking about the details of the new school year.

Last year we did correction/retake game on EVERY assessment. Consequently, my room was crowded with students in the afternoons wanting to increase their grade but not necessarily wanting to work for it. I would venture to say that most did the minimum of corrections but did not attempt any other learning activities as their grades were generally the same or a few points higher, especially those who began at a high C or B level. And I was BURNT OUT before Christmas with the overload of grading. Often, even before taking as assessment they would ask “can I retake this?” This system did not work for me (or many of my colleagues).

This year’s idea … the climbing reassessment system:

1. Quizzes

2. Unit Test … if you do better on the unit test section than the same for the quiz, your quiz grade will be changed up; no down movement

3. Quarter Test …ditto as above, but both the unit test and quiz grades will be changed up. We did tentatively plan a retake week after school for the quarter test.

This will give students 3 chances at each topic and should not add as much additional grading as last year.

The downside? In laying out the first quarter of quizzes, tests, and quarter test for Algebra 2/Trig:

Quizzes (10 @ 100 points each):

  • Equations of Lines ( unit 1)
  • Functions (unit 1)
  • Systems of Equations (unit 1)
  • Matrices (unit 1)
  • Variations (unit 1)
  • Piecewise Functions (unit 2)
  • Absolute Value (unit 2)
  • Complex Numbers (unit 2)
  • Solving Quadratics (unit 3)
  • Graphing Quadratics (unit 3)

Unit Test #1 (items marked unit 1 above) – 5 sections @ 100 points each

Unit Test #2 (items marked unit 2 above) – 3 sections @ 100 points each

Unit Test #3 (items marked unit 3 above) – 2 sections @ 100 points each

Quarter Test – 10 sections @ 100 points each

That is 40 grade book entries!! I guess we won’t have difficulty meeting the minimum 18 grades per quarter and no one grade can count 20% of the total quarter grade.

But, in addition, we are going to be required to give at least 10 short, graded review assessments like on the state exams in order to increase scores. Since our exams are 85% multiple choice, mine are going to be 3 multiple choice questions and one short answer per quiz.

We are now up to 50 entries per student (x 150 students).

How can I simplify all of this? I think I may go crazy before September even gets here!


One Response to “The Beginning Is Near”

  1. Carby August 22, 2012 at 6:34 am #

    Whoa! 50 entries per quarter??! That’s ridiculous! You DEFINITELY need to refine that list. Are you sure you only have 1 entry per target?! For instance if you Functions Quiz 1, Functions Quiz 2, Functions Quiz 3 instead of having THREE DIFFERENT functions entries just have one entry, Functions Quiz, and include the total. So if a student got 6/10 on Quiz 1, 8/10 on Quiz 2, 7/10 on Quiz 3……instead of recording those quizzes as 3 SEPARATE ENTRIES include it as one SINGLE ENTRY and add up the individual scores, Functions Quiz 21/30. You’re using a point total of 100, but you could easily use a total of 10. So by the time you’ve completed all 10 quizzes, you have a cumulative score out of 100. If you want to track individual progress from quiz to quiz you can create that in an excel sheet separately, but for the sake of storing it on your district’s gradebook you can compile individual scores into one score. Maybe…maybe not.

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