Tuesday, January 15, 2013

For the Students, By the Students

Today, my Pre-Calculus students are taking their mid-term exam in my class, but the real learning took place last week.

By administration, I am told that I must give a mid-term exam, but my heart isn't into it.  My students in that class just finished taking the Keystone Exams for Math (our state tests), last week was Literature, and this week is Biology, and I'm suppose to give a mid-term.  Talk about test overload.

Since my heart wasn't into it, neither was my motivation.  I went to the students for help and suggestions.  Here's what they came up with.  Split the class into small groups and each group is assigned an outcome or two to write questions for.  Genius!

One day last week I put the students into groups, assigned each group two outcomes, gave them a large whiteboard and markers to do scratch work, and this handout.





I asked the students to create two multiple-choice problems for each outcome, one review and one for the test.  I scanned the students' problems and complied a mid-term review and a mid-term exam with those questions.

Advantages:
Students were learning as they wrote the questions.
The use of the large whiteboard is perfect for collaboration.  Working on paper, only 1 or 2 students can see what's going on.
I didn't have to create another test.

Disadvantages:
Some of their handwriting is awful.
I may have been able to create a more thorough exam.  For example this question misses the point:
It's just too easy to "plug and chug" as the students would say.

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