As we continue with the quizzes - grading the three concepts that were given feedback only the last quiz and giving feedback only on the three most recently taught (details on my SBG system this year is here and reflections on why I wanted to make changes from last year is here), I am seeing that several students are not trying or making little effort on the feedback only questions. It is not a majority of students, but with each new quiz, I am noticing there are more students each time who are not attempting the feedback questions. This worries me and I feel it defeats the purpose of giving the questions for feedback only the first time. The students are cheating themselves of the opportunity to seeing what they know about the problem in a practice situation.
I have been giving them review sheets for the concepts that are being graded since in some cases it has been 2 weeks or so since they had the original instruction on the topic. I suspect what that is doing is focusing the students on preparing for only those problems and they are not doing much preparation on the newer concepts. I am afraid that if I give review sheets with all 6 concepts, we will be spending one day reviewing and another day quizzing every 7-8 class days. As much as I don't want to dwell on what content I am covering over the course of the year, I am already concerned that I will not get to many concepts that I should be for Algebra 2. Last year I ended with exponentials and logarithms and I am deeply concerned that I'm not going to get there this year with their lack of Algebra 1 skills and the time I've had to spend remediating those skills - and that's not factoring in the additional number of testing days (and some review days).
In two of my three Algebra 2 classes, students expressed that they weren't ready for today's quiz. Now, I know it's not due to lack of time and energy
I'm at a bit of a loss tonight. I cannot continue to go backwards. Students have to learn they have to pick up the slack at some point. I feel like I am wasting time quizzing every 5-7-10 class days if they aren't preparing for all of the concepts. Part of the reason I changed to the quizzing concepts twice system was that I thought they would do better on the concepts since they had a chance to get some written feedback from me as a part of the process. If students aren't even going to attempt the feedback-only problems, then the purpose of quizzing this way is moot. I could go back to the way I assessed last year (at the end of a "unit" with a couple of days of review in front of the assessment) and end up with the same results with hopefully less wasted time, not to mention less stress since I would only have to prepare an assessment every 2-3 weeks. Part of what also appealed to me about the teach 3 - quiz 6 - teach 3 - quiz 6 system was that it would be smaller chunks for students to focus on and hopefully they would find that to be more manageable.
blog post in front of my Algebra 2 students tomorrow. I am going to do it a little differently. I gave the article to the Advanced Algebra 2 students today (since some of them were still finishing their quiz) and had them read the introduction (through the middle of page 3). Then I counted them off and had each pair read one section instead of one page. Each pair shared with the class what they thought was important. I did not have a chance to share the Cone of Learning with them - I am going to do that tomorrow. My hope is with my Algebra 2 students to get through all of that in class tomorrow. I also had my husband print out in color 11" x 17" Cone of Learning posters that I am going to put up around the room. I want a visual reminder to my students that they need to take an active part in mathematics.
I need to continue to reflect to see if this is how I want to continue to assess, or if I want to go back to what I was doing last year, or if there is a different way I want to try. If I am going to make changes, ideally, I would do it after the end of the 2nd 9 weeks in January. I just don't know what the "right" answer is. If anyone has some thoughts to share that would be helpful, I sure would appreciate it. I am having a hard time separating myself emotionally from this decision. There is a part of me that feels that I am failing my students here. I feel like I am teaching them (not intentionally) to prepare for the short term rather than learning the material thoroughly. Intellectually, I know that this group of students does not have good study skills and that is part of it, not to mention that there are several students who are not strong mathematically. Their experiences in Algebra 1 isn't helping the situation either. Regardless, I have to work with the students I have, where they are at, and make the best of it I can.