Seems that the students in my geometry class had the lowest retention compared to the students in my Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 classes. More than half of my students in geometry still don’t know the meaning of the word “perpendicular” (they confuse it with “parallel”). They still don’t know that a linear pair of angles (adjacent angles whose outer rays form a straight line) adds up to 180 degrees. And, I wrote a few days ago about students not knowing the formulas for the area and circumference of a circle. Even after I impressed upon them the need to memorize those formulas for the final exam that day, more than half still could not find the area and circumference of a circle. It’s so !@#$!@#$ frustrating. I’m still trying to figure out why that happened.

As with other exams, I am allowing students to correct their mistakes to earn a portion of points back on their exam. If they work hard, they can raise their grade on the exam back to an A or B. To earn correction points, students have to write an explanation of why the corrected answer is right and what they did incorrectly. This system has some problems: some students will copy the answers and explanations from their friends and thus not gain any benefit from it themselves and it’s also a big pain for me because that means I basically have to regrade every exam multiple times. But, I feel that the extra learning and confidence that they get from correctly answering exam questions is worth it. Most of the students seem motivated by the prospect of an improved exam score, but it’s the ones who are diligent and hard working that usually get their their exam scores raised in any significant way. And, I can tell who is really working on learning and who is copying from friends.

The school year is almost over! We’re just working on our exam corrections now, and we’ll do some fun activities the next few days.

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Regarding the first paragraph… I had Prof Gupta for 61 when he was still trying to figure Mudd out. He told us that stating a certain definition or theorem (I don’t remember what it was exactly at this point) was going to be on our midterm, and then commented that at the school he had come from at least half the class would still miss the question. He didn’t have that problem at Mudd, but the fact that your students couldn’t find the area of a circle may be related to the fact that Prof Gupta’s college students couldn’t regurgitate a statement they were told to memorize.