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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The Review Day: Unit Analysis and Scale Factor

There seems to be three sacred cows in mathematics education: the worksheet / exercise set the review day the exam It is not surprising that these three feed off one another, and make up the bulk of assessment in the typical mathematics classroom (including my own). Here’s my disclaimer:While I have been known to slaughter a few of the sacred cows of the instructional process, I have lagged severely behind in my attention to assessment. I value the complexities of learning that occur when student ideas encounter perturbations, curiosities, and other conceptualizations. The type of assessment that comes out of these …

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The Discourse Effect

This semester, I’ve been attempting to infuse my courses with more opportunities for students to collaborate while solving problems. This post is designed to examine the shift in student disposition throughout the process.I have noticed an increased conceptual understanding almost across the board and this is reflected in the differing solutions on summative assessments. It is also nice to see their marks  grow on these unit tests. I do not believe that paper-and-pencil tests are the best venues for displaying conceptual understanding, but it is awesome when the two intertwine.My unit structureI plan my courses in units of study, and …

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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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