This week I’ve been thinking a lot about the purpose of summative assessments and about my students’ performance.
I’m not thrilled about how my students performed on their final exams this week. A few of my students scored at the “proficient” level on the recent district periodic assessment; most of them scored in the “below basic” or “far below basic” categories.It’s really difficult to look at these results and not feel like a total failure. However, I do feel that my students are learning something–we’re moving in the right direction but we’re just not all at the goal yet. I’m still hoping that by June a lot more of my students will be in the “proficient” or “advanced” category.
So that I don’t feel so bad, I am also reminding myself about the three or four weeks of lost instructional time at the beginning of the semester. If we had three or four more weeks together, I’m confident students would have done better on their exams. Many of the questions that students got wrong were questions on material that we just didn’t get to.
Because students did so poorly, I’ve been giving students the opportunity to make up a large portion of points lost if they correct their mistakes (they have to include a written explanation of their work). If students make an effort, they can raise their grade on any exam to an A or B. I even let students work together and I offer help. But still some students don’t take advantage of the make up points. I know that I have to ween students off the make up points eventually so that they can get the problems right the first time, but at least for now I feel this scheme helps them learn more math, learn how to learn from a mistake, and not feel so bad about their exam score.
This experience is making me consider why I don’t offer exam make up points in my college classes…