We’re at the twilight of the second quarter in my calculus class. Standards Based Grading has become normal. The most exciting thing about SBG is seeing students who are traditionally unsuccessful turn that around. They can get it, but they realize they have to conquer their weaknesses. The Giant Specter that Haunts All Calculus Teachers is the deficiencies we see with our kids’ algebra abilities.)
Students will use the quotient rule to get something like . And then, then, *shudder*: because, you know Mr. Shah, you can just cancel the .
Students simply can’t get by without fixing their algebra deficiencies. But they have lots of opportunities to fix them. It’s really hard to unlearn bad algebra, but many are doing it.
The flip side is possibly the MOST FRUSTRATING THING ABOUT SBG. Yes, all caps means I’m yelling. It’s the students who just sit there, don’t reassess, and *hope* everything will turn around. I encourage (of course I encourage!), but I am only going to go so far. They’re not freshman. They’re seniors. They know what they’re doing. They’re making choices. It saddens me that students who have been given the opportunity to learn would rather languish.
It simply highlights my biggest pet peeve. I really really dislike it when I am confronted with a student with SO MUCH POTENTIAL and SO MUCH ABILITY but they flounder because they don’t want to work. They don’t want to put in the effort it takes. It angers me because they don’t realize that THEY ARE SO LUCKY TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN. They’re squandering opportunities and closing doors and that saddens me.
However, those students are few and far between.
In terms of the number of kids reassessing this quarter:
Week 1: 6
Week 2: 8
Week 3: 11
Week 4: 15
Week 5: 15
Week 6: 17
TOTAL: 72 reassessments
Making the change this quarter that students can only reassess on Fridays (and they have to send me their form email demonstrating they’ve remediated by Tuesday at 5pm) has been amazing, in terms of my own self-preservation. I generally spend (closer to the end of the quarter) an extra 4 hours/week writing, grading, and recording the reassessments. It feels worth it, so I do it.
I was hoping that the number of reassessments would decrease in the 2nd quarter, once students began to recognize what was required of them to do well on the assessments. That isn’t the case (Quarter 1 had 70 assessments). I have two conjectures about this:
1. The material is harder, and way more algebra heavy, so students are struggling more.
2. Students have started to view the reassessments as their safety net (or their crutch, depending on the student), so they aren’t adequately preparing for assessments
I also wonder how senioritis will affect things in the 3rd and 4th quarters.