Q&A #1577

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Teaching techniques

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From: Susan Petrey

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2007052912:16:24
Subject: How to assess all students - struggling to gifted

In public education we are often faced with assessing students with a
wide range of abilities.  How do we assess the most gifted students
(authentically) while providing some reasonal assessment instrument
for struggling learners?	

I teach a Pre-AP Geometry class (a course preparing students who will
eventually take AP Calculus) and I've come up with a rubric-style of
grading free-response questions that I use a couple of times during
each grading period to really challenge the brightest students.. while
still providing a safety net for weaker students.

Here is how it works:

I write a multi-part problem asking a variety of questions.  I try to
incorporate several topics in the questions.  Sometimes the question
is strictly non-calculator, other times it requires extensive use of a
calculator.  I then design a rubric using a 9 point scale (same as AP
Exam free response questions).  Then, I assign grades as follows:
0-1 pt = 50%, 2 - 3 = 70%, 4 - 5 = 80%, 6 - 7 = 90%, 8 - 9 = 100%.  

Now, initially, many teachers think that this scale is far too
generous, but after looking at the questions.. and the level of
student performance, most agree in time that the scale works pretty
well.  The 'last point' is usually quite challenging, and thus enables
the most gifted students to really work hard at problem-solving
(something they rarely are able to do with more traditional

You can get a sample of this type of assessment at http://texanmath.us
on the student work sample page.  Enjoy!

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