Friday, July 19, 2013

...why rubrics? (part 1)

Why I use rubrics, #1: Rubrics help me to focus on proficiencies, not deficits, and they support my efforts to give feedback that can be used to improve future performances.

In earlier posts, I discussed the "In the cups" performance task and my use of a proficiency-based assessment system in my intermediate algebra course. In this post, I'll share an example to illustrate how the use of an evidence-based rubric has supported my implementation.

I can show you more than that

In a previous post, I talked about my grading system based on the mantra, "Show me what you can do." Here's a quick example of a student's response to a quiz item that shows why this proficiency-based approach feels so right:

One of my learning targets was:
___1.5. I can solve linear systems and represent the solution symbolically and graphically.
I stated that objective at the top of the quiz, along with several others, then gave the following task:
The solutions to the following system of equations are provided. Show that you can use the elimination and substitution methods (use each one once) to solve these problems.
{y = 3x+6
{2x + 4y = -4              solution is (-2,0)  
{7.5x - y = 10
{15x - 4y = 10            solution is (2,5)

Show me what you can do

I have a new mantra this semester, reflecting a new (for me) way of thinking about my assessment and evaluation. The mantra is basically: "Show me what you can do." It's a big shift from my early assessment systems.
"Show off!"

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

What it Means to Solve (Again): Finding Wormholes

In two previous posts, I have explored what it means to solve linear inequalities and what it means to solve quadratic equations. The latter post describes a classroom moment in which my students and I contemplate what it means to find and visualize the (complex) solutions of a quadratic equation that has no real solutions. I wrote:

"A picture formed in my mind of an invisible, ethereal, wormhole-style thread binding the two curves. How could we represent the functions so that the "intersection" would be visible?"

This post documents my post-class exploration of that issue.