Reflection: Unit Exams Writing Algebraic Expressions - Section 1: Do Now


Last year I remember having a very difficult time deciding when my students should finish their tests. Because our classes were 60 minutes long (an amount that is truly 50 minutes long when you incorporate entering and exiting routines), my students were not finishing their Unit tests within one testing period. Factoring in extended time opportunities with students for IEPs was equally challenging.

I found that when I had student finish the next day during lunch, it disturbed their test taking experience as it wasn’t completely silent and usually full of activity as other students would come see me for different reasons during that period. So, last year, I decided to start using class time to finish assessments. This year, I DO NOT like this idea. First of all, I am lucky to have longer periods, 90 minutes four times a week (Mon – Thur). I make sure to schedule my unit assessments on one of these days. My Friday schedule is different and my classes are only 60 minutes long. We take quizzes during these days and I make sure to create them so that students CAN finish them under and hour, including those with time extension allowances. The change has been beneficial to the experience in test taking. Very few students need additional time as most as able to finish their Unit tests during one 90 minute period or their quiz during one 60 minute period.

Last year I felt that days like these were too disjointed. I often found it difficult to plan activities that students could complete in short amounts of time. This year, any student that finishes early is sent to a “skills” binder to work on their fluency. We call it the SMOYO binder (Skill Mastery on Your Own). I have attached the first 5 SMOYO quizzes student must show mastery on by the end of the first quarter. These skills are meant to keep students sharp on their skills, especially those that will affect their ability to work through the ration/proportions and algebraic units.

Avoiding the extension of time into another day or another class period can be very disruptive to the test taking experience. My students this year have definitely benefitted from my attempts to cordon off assessment time to an isolated period in the day that where they need to begin AND finish the test.

  Unit Exams: Finding a Better Way to Finish
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Writing Algebraic Expressions

Unit 3: Expressions and Equations - The Basics
Lesson 1 of 23

Objective: SWBAT write algebraic expressions to represent products, quotients, and exponentiation.

Big Idea: Students finish Unit 2 test and write algebraic expressions to represents products, quotients, and exponents.

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day 40 unit test writing expressions pic 2
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