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First Algebra II assessment

August 21, 2012

I’ve written my very first Algebra II assessment, and I’d love some feedback.

Some background: We’re going to be doing SBG in this class, and as part of that, we’ll be assessing students every week. Our thought is to have the assessments be a mix of skill based assessment along with some deeper problem solving work.

I want to write more about the many questions and ideas I have about adapting SBG to Algebra II, but it’s late, and I should be going to bed. For now, I’m very intrigued by Dan Goldner’s grading framework.

I’m trying to think of ways to get my students to approach problem solving with a much more deliberate attitude that seeks to craft solutions that tell the story of the problem rather than just seeking the answer. This isn’t going to be something that students learn in the first week, or pick up from a sinlge assessment, but to help them begin the journey along this path, I tried to put together these tips:

  • Good solutions tell stories with a beginning (some assumptions that you list), a middle (well explained calculations) and an end (your answer & interpretation) and can be followed by your reader.
  • Explain your thinking with words. Don’t just write down calculations.
  • A picture, diagram or graph is often the most useful and meaningful part of the solution.
  • Each number tells a story. What are the units? How well do you know this number?

So I’d love any suggestions you might have regarding this assessment or assessment in general. I’m particularly interested in how you assess problem solving and encourage students to articulate well explained solutions.

Oh, and the first activity we are going to do is Dan Meyer’s excellent cup stacking activity.

(assessment temporarily removed in case any of my students happen to be reading my blog.) 🙂

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 22, 2012 7:03 am

    My students always argue that the answer is good enough. We both know that’s not the case. Here’s a suggestion that was passed along to me: Before you do your first task with the students, put them in groups of three or four and hand out solutions done by previous students (or create a bunch of solutions yourself), some good, some bad, some ugly. Make sure the solutions have no grading or comments on them and ask your current students to make three piles: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
    Have a discussion about what made a solution good, bad, or ugly. The students can keep copies of these to refer to when completing their own.

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