Students have 80 minutes, one math period, to complete the mock assessment. It is set up like a state exam. Desks are separated, dividers are spread through-out the class, along with noise-canceling headphones. Due to copyright laws, I am unable to upload our original test, but have created a sample mock test with similar questions to give an idea about the types of questions that appeared.
All students will receive a reflection assignment after today’s test. It will be due in two days. Students who do not complete the tests are given additional time during study halls, but are warned this will not happen on future mock assessments. The test includes 34 questions; the timing is rigorous in pace. Those who needed additional time will receive a NYT article about timing strategies.
Students given the article will be quizzed with one question during a study hall period:
Students who write an answer that indicates they read the article will be invited to lunch to hang out and talk about it. Students who choose not to answer of evidently did not read the article will be asked to write a two paragraph reflection of the article, answering the questions:
Students who complete the test within 80 minutes receive an article about students and teachers getting paid for passing scores on AP tests.
They will need to complete a two paragraph response to the critical thinking skills question at the bottom of the article.
Our data portal offers important information such as the percentage of students answering questions correctly, organized by standards. I generate reports that help guide my instruction and the creation of our materials. On this mock assessment, the lowest scored standard is 7.NS.2b, but there was only one question in the multiple choice section linked to that standard. Standard 7.NS.3 stands out since it includes 7 linked questions and about half of the grade is not showing mastery.
The data tells me that students are still struggling with word problems. I decided to look at these questions closely, randomly choose 6 – 10 students who did not answer the questions correctly to inspect their work. What I find is that many of the students who are answering incorrectly are not using the strategies being taught in class (chip models, the number line, verbal models, equations with all steps included). I plan to conference with students during remediation blocks for the next few days. The feedback I give will be based on the work they shows (or lack thereof) and some things they need to do to improve their performance.
The following is an example of me taking a standard from this list and breaking it down for analysis.
Sample Question: Four students were asked to write a ratio equivalent to –(4/79). Their answers are shown below. (*Note: the original ratio written in this statement is shows as a fraction without the parentheses)
Cristal Esmeralda Jim Marcus
–4/79 –(4/79) –4/–79 4/(–79)
*Note: each ratio above is written as a fraction and the parentheses ARE used in each example.
Which students did NOT write a ratio that is equivalent to –(4/79)?
Correct Answer: A
Response Frequency (# students):
A: 35 B: 11 C: 4 D: 17
Most popular wrong answers: D and B
Only 3 students choose wrong answer C, Cristal. This tells me that students understood that a negative sign in the middle of the fraction (next to the fraction bar) is the same as a negative numerator. What they did not understand however, is that the placement of parentheses or the placement of the negative in the denominator doesn’t affect the sign of the quotient. Additionally, the answers to this question tell me that students truly do not have a grasp of this standard, specifically the part that states “if p and q are integers then –(p/q)=(-p)/q=p/(-q)“.
Next step: Extra practice sheet is provided to these students.
Since this standard only links one question I was curious about the percent mastery by class. The results were significantly different. In my first section, 71% of students mastered this question, while in my 2nd and 3rd sections 30% and 57% showed mastery, respectively. Knowing this determines how I address remediation of this standard. In the first section, it looks like I will only need remediation blocks to help students who didn't answer correctly. While in my second and third section I will be addressing remediation in class.
It’s a time intensive process, to do this for each standard. But it pays off. Providing the differentiated work helps, and the one on one conferences empower students to be knowledgeable of the data and improve their skills with specific feedback and work.