Students enter silently according to the Daily Entrance Routine. All students are spread out around the room so that they are sitting at isolated spots. Some noise canceling headphones and dividers are provided. A timer on the SmartBoard displays the amount of time left until the end of class. The timer is not started until all students receive their test books and bubbles sheets.
The three standards tagged in this assessment 7.EE.1, 7.EE.2, and 7.EE.4a are marked as red percentages, respectively, 54%, 64%, and 60% in the data file. "Red" percentages appear in this color so that I can easily identify the skills that need to be prioritized for remediation. Any standard where the mastery percentage is less than 70% is highlighted in red. I note the percentage of students who answered each questions correctly. The following multiple choice questions on this test have the lowest percentage (%) correct answers from students:
Question 16: At the farmers’ market, the cost of a pound of pears is 80% of the cost of a pound of oranges. Lorna bought 5 pounds of pears. She used the expression 5(0.8x) to represent the cost of the pears in terms of the cost of the oranges. Which of the following expressions is another way to represent 5(0.8x) ?
A. 5(x – 0.2x)
C. 5(1 – 0.2x)
Question 10: Jake walked all the way around the perimeter of a square playground that has sides n feet long, then he walked an additional 20 feet. Which person walked the same distance as Jake?
A. Nancy, who walked around a square garden measuring n + 5 feet on each side
B. Jules, who walked around a rectangular room measuring n feet wide and 10 feet long
C. Billy, who walked around a square lot measuring 20 feet on each side
D. Sarah, who walked a straight distance of n + 20 feet
Question 11: Which of the following is equivalent to the expression shown?
(1/2) [ ( 3x + 1 ) – ( 2 – x ) ]
A. (5/2)x – (3/2)
B. (1/2)x – (3/2)
C. x – ½
D. 2x – ½
I use these three questions to build an assignment for all students. It is clear that many of my students are struggling this year with the rigorous demands of the new common core curriculum. The scores for this particular Unit Test range from 10% - 86%. Twenty-seven of my 7th graders score below 50%. This represents about 40% of the grade. These results are typical for each Unit Test they’ve taken this year. In order to address negative effects on student confidence, I often give students assignments like the one attached to this lesson to average out their test scores. I also offer tutoring sessions both during lunch and after school for any students seeking help in these assignments. My goal is to continue encouraging students to grow in math. We talk a lot about character, specifically grit, and I am honest with them about their results, but balance that with hope that if they continue to work hard, they will get better. I use “growth” rewards to highlight students who increase in percentages from one Unit Test to the next. The overall message is, “yes, 7th grade math is hard, but we will get through it together”.
The skills that stand out as needing more practice on this test are:
I’ve also included worksheets I generated using Kuta Software to improve skills with rational numbers, the distributive property and nested expressions (both numeric and algebraic). Students may complete these assignments for extra points on their Unit test score. Students earn 5% points added to their final score after completing at least 80% of the problems on each worksheet correctly.