Today was an assessment day for Mr Dardy
Two sections of BC Calculus taking quizzes. Two sections of AP Stats taking tests. One big question for me in each situation. I’m interested in hearing your opinions.
My first class is a Calculus section. We’ve been working with parametric equations and dipping our toes into the relationship between polar and cartesian equations. We spent a day with Desmos and we spent a day on regular old lecture. They had a five-question quiz and four of the questions were very standard. On one of the questions, I asked them to convert an ellipse in rectangular form (factored already so they could see the center and lengths of the axes) into a parametric equation. Now, they had already had homework converting parametric equations into non-parametric forms. We had also looked at polar forms and I reminded them of the polar equations that would result in a unit circle. My hope was that they would piece those two skills together. It is an AP class and I feel that I owe it to them to ask them to react on the fly to situations that are at least slightly novel. Much grumbling ensued. I haven’t graded them yet to see how they responded, but I did not walk away with a positive feeling.
My next class was an AP Stats class and we were (finally) taking a test on probability distributions. Between the Christmas break and our snow day this week, this unit has felt very choppy to me. I had two girls finish the test in about twenty minutes and they are two of my stronger students, so I don’t think it was due to just folding up their tents. Some students stayed the whole 45 minutes, but I am sort of convinced that some students will stay sitting and pondering any test as long as they are allowed to.
So – my two questions are
- What is your feeling about questions on assessments that don’t match up with a practiced skill?
- Should I feel any sense of concern that some students finished a 45 minute test in less than half the time I allotted? It somehow feels like I must have aimed too low with them. Again, I haven’t graded yet, so my opinion may change by the end of the night.
Dorm duty calls and I am bound to stay in my apt near my desk all night – so I suspect I’ll get a good amount of work accomplished.