Reflection: Grade Book and Data Analysis What is Algebra? - Section 4: Homework


As the year has progressed, the Weekly Workout has evolved slightly.

  • I both collect and assign the Weekly Workout on Monday. The students didn't like having to wait 'til Tuesday to get started on the new one!
  • Over the year, I added new problem types and eliminated old ones. I also gradually increased the level of difficulty on the long-standing problem types. In particular, I've been careful to include problems from each Algebra 2 unit that has been begun or completed. Even with increasing difficulty, scores have increased throughout the year!
  • On some short weeks (before or after long weekends), I've produced a shorter workout of just 10 problems.
  • Grading: In the gradebook, I make 18/20 count as 100%. The two extra points are just that: extra credit that stands as a reward for excellent work. I've found that it's not the "smartest" kids who earn these points, but the ones who apply themselves most diligently. The "smart" kids typically race through and make a few careless errors. The diligent ones take the time to check their work and get help when they need it.
  • I made an agreement with my class that we could review one problem from the workout at the beginning of each class. However, I typically refused to completely solve the problem. Rather, I would as students to explain how to get started or what the key strategy was. Once we'd made a good beginning, I leave it up to the individual students to finish. This typically took no more than 5 minutes and gave me the opportunity to clear up many misconceptions.

The feedback I've received from both students and parents has been very encouraging. Many parents have thanked me for providing this continuous practice for their students, and many of my most diligent students have commented the improvement in their skills.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I've found that the Weekly Workout is an excellent predictor of a student's overall grade. Go figure!

  Grade Book and Data Analysis: Adjustments to Practice
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What is Algebra?

Unit 1: Modeling with Algebra
Lesson 1 of 15

Objective: Students will be able to explain why algebra needs definitions and axioms, what some of these first principles are, and what it means to "do algebra".

Big Idea: Algebra is built on axioms and definitions and relies on proofs just as much as geometry.

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