Second Marking Period Exam

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Objective

SWBAT show what they know about patterns, arithmetic sequences, and the different representations of linear functions.

Big Idea

The right tools make it easier for teachers to build exams that assess the standards we want to assess.

Making the Right 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.  One very useful, free, online tool is Problem-Attic.com.

The image at the top of this lesson is a screen shot from the Problem-Attic web site, which 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 quite 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.

Grading

I will grade today's exam on four content learning targets:

  • 1.5: I can create equations in two or more variables to represent relationships between quantities.
  • 1.6: I understand that the graph of an equation in two variables is the set of all its solutions plotted in the coordinate plane.
  • 1.7: I can graph linear equations on coordinate axes with labels and scales.
  • 1.9: I can identify and interpret the key features of a linear function, from an equation, a table or a graph.

I also throw a few problems about patterns on the exam; these are an assessment of Mathematical Practice #7.

It's satisfying to map out which problems assess which learning targets, and then to share the results with kids next time we meet.

Exam Time for Students

43 minutes

Students have the entire 43 minute period to complete the exam.  It takes the first few minutes to distribute the exam, and to get kids started.  I make sure to compliment everyone who has made a useful and/or beautiful looking cheat sheet, and I wish everyone luck.