Thursday, August 21, 2008

Why I'll Keep Concept Quizzes

To say M struggled in my class last year is an understatement. M failed quarter after quarter through the year. I'm convinced she hated me for the first semester, but something changed when I came back after Christmas.

In the middle of spring semester, M buckled down. Graduation was coming. She needed to pass my class to get her diploma. We had a lot of catch-up to do. 

And we got it done. M was in my class for extra tutoring every chance she got. She took work home. She commented, "Man, this would be easier if I'd just done it in the fall." And while I wish she had done the work originally because I know she could have learned even more by the end, I jumped up and down in my trailer when I graded the test that brought her up to a passing grade. A week later I saw her graduate.

That's the allure of Dan's concept quizzes for me. Being able to (1) give students the chance to succeed all the way through the year (2) without letting up on the rigor of assessments. M and I focused on her lowest quiz grades, she knowing that their changes would have the biggest impact on her grade, myself trusting that they would increase her overall mastery. 

M was at a parent orientation night this week. She's enrolled at a local college where she tested out of the math requirement. I'm a little sad that she won't take another math course, but I'm thrilled that she knew enough to meet their requirements. 

I'm not as on top of things as other teachers, haven't yet hammered out sample questions for this years concepts. (I'm not even sure what my concepts will be.) But I'm grateful for the reminder that this method does help my students in a way that I'm not sure anything else could.

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