I can take my quiz when?

As my journey continues to make my classroom a room of student choice, I am now tackling the area of assessment. As a math teacher, I give quizzes and tests to assess mastery of content. Students are allowed to review, study and reassess to improve their skills. I have also given students choice at times to show mastery by choosing their own method of assessment. What I have never done, however, was give students the choice on when to take their assessment.

Last week changed all of that.

Students have been working for 3+ weeks on points of concurrency in geometry among many other topics all associated the major emphasis on points of concurrency. This chapter has proven to be a challenge for some students. As I have always done in the past, I told students the date of an upcoming quiz. As the quiz approached I could see the level of anxiety in a few students rise. They kept asking me questions to clarify the concepts (which is great!)

After class the next day, as a few students were packing up their things, a student approached me and asked about something on the quiz. She mentioned she was mixing up two concepts and what I said was completely unexpected on my part, “Why don’t you take another day to study and take the quiz when you’re ready.” She said, “really?” I responded, “Sure, spend another day reviewing the concepts and take the quiz the next day.” You could tell she was instantly relieved.

The emphasis was shifted from the date of the quiz to the importance of mastering the content.

The next day before I was to hand out the quiz, I announced to students that if they aren’t ready to take it then they could take another day to review the material and then take it. They looked at me in shock and awe not sure if I was kidding or not. A student raised his hand and said, “Can I spend 10 minutes now to just review and then start it?” Absolutely! Of my 22 students about 13 of them started the quiz right away. All but 4 students took the quiz that day. I had 3 students take it the next day and the remaining student took it two days later. The results were outstanding! Almost all students did incredibly well. They mastered the material AND they had a choice in when they did it. No student was behind and all kept up on the other work for the week. They became in charge of their learning and proving to me mastery.

To see a colleague’s blog regarding another student in my class and his thoughts about student choice, click here.

Posted on January 21, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Kudos to you for taking a risk Kirk! I look forward to seeing the long term impact of this shift in your assessment philosophy.


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