Rethinking Assesssment Strategy

15 Jul

I’m thinking of altering my assessment strategy for next year. Sort of just thinking aloud here…

For the last two or three years I have given a quiz every Friday.  Here’s a general description of my current methodology:

  • I create my own quizzes. So far, I haven’t found a test generator I like.
  • Each quiz is 10 to 20 questions long.
  • Topics mostly come from week’s work, but adding in mixed review is fair game.
  • I always return the quizzes on the following Monday.
  • Students may retake the quiz as soon as the Wednesday following the Friday. Retakes are during lunch.
  • Student gets the retake score.
  • There’s no hard limit on number of times a student can retake the quiz; however, more work for me since each retake is unique.
  • Assessments are 70% of their grade.

Pros of this assessment strategy:

  • Provides me with a fairly frequent analysis of how the students are grasping the concepts. I don’t collect homework, so this is my chance to really understand how the students are getting on individually.
  • Students always have a chance to improve their skill on a topic, and therefore their grade.  I always tell the students that we all learn at different rates, and as long as you eventually get it that’s all that matters.  If a student is getting a bad grade in my class, there is always a path to improvement.

Cons of this assessment strategy:

  • Lots of instruction time given to assessing students and then going over corrected quiz. This is the biggest con. I don’t like testing students on Friday for a topic I introduced on Thursday, so I feel like the strategy steals Thursday from me.
  • Is 100% on a retake = 100% on original quiz ?  Do I want to penalize the students slightly (5%) for retaking quiz?
  • Students who wait too long to retake the quiz are often retaking it under pressure from a parent, and they score the same or worse.  One idea is to allow just the one retake the week after taking the quiz.

Not sure yet how I’ll change this for next year; any suggestions?  In a couple of weeks I will be attending a math common-core training course. Maybe that will help answer some questions…or confuse me more.


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