From: Susan Petrey
To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
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 assessments). 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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