Over the course of Unit 2, students have analyzed a lot of real data. They have created, compared, and interpreted box plots, dot plots, and histograms. They have practiced solving problems involving percentages, they have made and examined two-way frequency tables, and they have worked with some very large numbers.
Yesterday's writing prompt served as one of two final assessments for Unit 2. The other, a 20-25 question multiple choice test, happens today. I am always very curious to see how well the work we've done over the last few weeks will transfer to a standardized-style exam.
Online tools have made it pretty easy to produce customized multiple choice tests in short amount of time. A quick internet search for "SAT Practice" always yields free resources that often include some pretty interesting warm-up or review problems. Currently, I think the best such tool is Problem-Attic.com (admit that you love that name, right?).
The Problem-Attic site makes it easy to find, choose, and arrange test questions into a printable sheet. It's easy enough to use that I will often make different exams for each of my classes. If I know that we didn't get to something in one class, or if there are extension questions that I'd like high-achieving students to try, it's easy to add or remove problems. Problems from more than a dozen different state assessments are organized by math topic, so it's pretty straightforward to find problems related to this unit's learning targets. There also appears to be a subscription option for Common Core problems, but I have not looked into this for myself.
As we make the transition to the Common Core Standards, the role of multiple choice problems remains to be seen. I believe that, used carefully, a multiple choice exam can be a great tool, and I know that my students will take tests like this over the next few years. The key is not to make these tests the point of the class, and to make them feel like they are one manageable sort of task among the many that students will see this year.