I have been in a posting flurry the last week (check here and here for the ones that will relate to this post). Here is the quick update....
I gave quizzes Friday in my Algebra 2 class - I graded the learning targets on solving and graphing inequalities, solving and graphing compound inequalities, and solving absolute value equations. I have not finished grading the quizzes - I still have feedback only to give on solving absolute value inequalities, determining if a pattern is linear, and finding slope. On the portions that I graded, the solving equations and inequalities was not looking good. I still have students trying to subtract the same quantity from the same side of an equation or inequality. There are other errors (not distributing well, computation errors, and dividing both sides by different numbers to name a few), but that one is the one that bothers me the most. I did some quick analysis and I found once I took the time to look that it wasn't as bad as I thought, but it's still not where it should be.
Here's my plan for the start of the week -
Tomorrow (Monday), I am handing back their quizzes. I will give them the answers as I have been doing, but before I do so, I am going to direct them to take 3-5 minutes and really read the feedback that I have given them. After giving them the answers, I have marked 6 students in each class as "experts" - there were 3 concepts, 2 quizzes so 1 student for each quiz on each concept (that means 2 experts per learning target). The remaining students I am going to direct to work on correcting their quizzes and if they are struggling, they need to see the "expert" for their trouble. I am hoping that this will get them really looking at their quizzes to see what they're doing and that the peer help will help get them in a better place with the material.
On Tuesday I am going to pair them up and set up a "scavenger hunt" type activity - answer at the top of the page, new problem to work on the bottom of it. Students will work on the problem and go find their answer to find their next problem. I am going to pair them deliberately - a student who has a stronger understanding of solving equations with a student who does not have as strong of an understanding. Each student will need to work out the problem. Hopefully this will help strengthen the weaker students while putting the stronger students in a mentoring role. I am going to mix equations and inequalities.
On Wednesday, I am going to give another quiz on the same learning targets (those students who have already mastered the learning target obviously will not need to redo) - my goal is two-fold: I want students to see what reassessing will do for them and I want them to feel some success (which I am hoping will happen!).
I really don't want to spend the extra time at the moment, but I feel that if I don't have 95% of my students with solid linear equation solving skills, I am going to have an incredibly difficult hill to climb with them. I'm really not sure what else to do - I have about 50%+ of my classes who don't have (in my opinion) a solid enough grasp of the skill, so we need to make sure they've got it. There are other issues I'm concerned with (mainly their lack of willingness to "think" and work at stuff), but this is the most pressing thing at the moment. I hope this is the right decision....