Reflection: Unit Exams Unit Assessment: Polynomial Functions and Expressions - Section 1: Unit Assessment: Polynomial Functions and Expressions


I create all of my unit exams with approximately the same format.  I feel that consistency in formatting helps relieve some of the anxiety that students feel about testing.  My exams have four pages, printed on the front and back to two sheets.  The first page must be completed without a calculator and the second page can be completed with or without a calculator.

The "non-calculator" page has a a no-calculator logo copied across the top. This page includes items like:

  • conceptual questions that are answered with paragraphs
  • basic skills like factoring, simplifying, or solving that I want students to be able to do without a calculator
  • graphing functions that I want students to know by heart
  • questions about vocabulary


The calculator page is primarily for problem-solving and application.  I encourage students to use their CAS calculators to solve equations, graph functions, and simplify expressions on this page.  On this page, students will be asked to

  • develop a mathematical model
  • use a model to solve a problem
  • analyze the graph of a function


When administering unit exams, I give students both pages and encourage them to look the entire test over.  They may complete as much of the exam as they like before taking their calculator out.  However, they must surrender the non-calculator page when they are ready to use their calculator.  Because they cannot go back to this page, I want them to have the entire test in hand so they can budget their time wisely.

I have noticed that the top performers in my class tend to keep both pages for most of the period.  On the calculator page, they set up the problem and do as much as they can without the calculator before they turn in the non-calculator page.  I believe that making these decisions helps my students with their meta-cognition.  They are assessing their own level of understanding as they decide what they can do by hand and what they should save for the calculator.

  How I Create Unit Assessments
  Unit Exams: How I Create Unit Assessments
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Unit Assessment: Polynomial Functions and Expressions

Unit 3: Polynomial Functions and Expressions
Lesson 16 of 16

Objective: Students will demonstrate facility with polynomial arithmetic and classification and mastery of all aspects of quadratic functions, expressions and equations.

Big Idea: Show that you are able to rewrite and classify polynomial expressions, use quadratic equations to solve problems, and express quadratic functions in various forms.

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