Assessment in a High-Density Classroom

“How do you assess this?” This is the question I eventually field during every opportunity I get to share pieces of my classroom with other stakeholders in education–be it teachers, administrators, or pre-service teachers. I don’t mind fielding it; it is a good question, one teeming with complexities and littered with implicit values.  I was not the one presenting during my most recent encounter with the familiar script. Instead, I was eagerly awaiting its appearance as I thoroughly enjoyed a talk from an educator I hold in the highest regard. When it came, I tried to cling to his words …

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Teacher Hack: iPads in Exams

My department has a set of 10 iPads for mathematics instruction. I use them primarily for the powers of Desmos. When I introduce teachers to the program, they get excited about the possibilities, but are immediately worried about one thing: How is it used in exams? While this may be a tad short-sighted, it is a legitimate concern. Teachers simply don’t have the resources to constantly be monitoring a class of students to be sure that they are not accessing the internet or communicating with each other (which is fairly easily fixed in settings). The greatest part of iPad technology is …

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Digitizing Exit Slips

I’ve tried many forms of student written reflection in my classroom. No matter the format, I have always phased them out due to the administrative details and increased time burden. I liked the idea of having students reflecting on their learning, and believe in the benefits of writing across all curricular areas. What I needed was an easy way to orchestrate the process.  It needed to be easy for me to access and for students to complete. Here is what I’ve come up with, and the results have been great: I used my google account to set up a Google …

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Rubricized: Thoughts Provoked by Skemp

This week I had the privilege of chatting with other math educators about an article written by Richard R. Skemp in 1976. We have formed a sort of ad hoc reading group built around reading classic and contemporary pieces of mathematics education research and discussing their application to our daily crafts. The inaugural meeting (so to speak) consisted of Raymond Johnson (@MathEdnet), Chris Robinson (@absvalteaching), Nik Doran (@nik_d_maths), Joshua Fisher (suspiciously un-twitterable), and myself(@NatBanting).The full conversation–facilitated through Google Hangouts–can be viewed on Raymond Johnson’s blog here.It must first be said that I loved the article; it would be a great starting point for …

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My Whiteboarding Framework

This year my department decided to make using whiteboards as formative assessment tools our department focus. This was nice because I had already began to experiment with the process. It just meant that: I wasn’t obligated to try yet another “thing” in my room. I would be given better materials and funding to work with. Other math teachers in my building would see the enormous benefits of the technique. For those of you unfamiliar with the term “whiteboarding” it is very simple. Students are given a miniature whiteboard, a whiteboard marker, and a small eraser. Responses are elicited in various …

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Webbed Assessment

I have been playing around with several ways to get students to realize why they make mistakes. I am fed up with the traditional grading process where the student completes a task and then is handed dead feedback–stuff to do the next time. In my opinion, the student needs to be the one seeing the diagnosis. I guess you could call it “active assessment” or “confidence assessment”. My goal is to get students looking into the patterns of their mistakes and isolating skills that they need to practice.My school has a short 35 minute period every Thursday. I decided to take …

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Continuum Assessment

Yesterday I took part in a multi-division professional development day on assessment and critical thinking. My division has been enamoured with Assessment for Learning for the longest time, but I have not been able to effectively transfer that knowledge into effective summative assessment in my math courses. I have, for the most part, stuck with the traditional assessment methods. My foray into Project Based Learning necessitates a shift, and that shift was finally solidified through my activity with peers at the sessions. I scratched down a form of project assessment, and labeled it “Continuum Assessment”. I called it this for three …

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A Reflection

In the waning moments of my semester, I made the decision to create a “class expert” system to introduce the idea of rational expressions. Designed as an elongated jigsaw, the students were divided into groups and assigned a topic. The connected nature of the ideas made this, in my opinion, the optimal time to attempt this type of framework. The full rationale for the project can be found in the post entitled, “Math Class Experts“. Basically, I can validate my choice on the following factors: Time Student Motivation Teacher Curiosity The unit ended with a short unit exam; I corrected …

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