Sunday, September 21, 2008

Algebra 2: Solving Absolute Value Equations

On Monday, students will learn how to solve absolute value equations. Their next skills test will be during the following class. So far, I think the mastery assessment plan based on skills tests is going well. Of about 130 algebra 2 students, I've had probably 40 - 50 retake their first skills test. Most of the retakers improved their scores, though a few didn't. We might have to examine the merits of studying and getting help before retaking.

This is going especially well due to the presence of the newly formed advisory program. One aspect of this is that all teachers are now asked to keep their online grade books up-to-date (which didn't happen in the past), so that advisors can show their advisees their grades on a weekly basis. Because skills tests in my class are 50% of the final grade, and we've only had one so far, students who had As (from doing all the homework) but scored 4/6 or lower on the test dropped down to Fs. No matter how many times we try to explain how volatile grades are at the beginning of the marking period, students can only see the letter, not the process. In this case, though, it works in my favor, as students see that retaking the test and getting even a 5/6 brings them back to passing, and a 6/6 takes them to an A.

Here are the files for Monday:

Lesson 10 (Solving Absolute Value Equations)
Lesson 10 Keynote
Keynote Quicktime

Oops.. there was a typo. Keynote files now fixed.

1 comment:

GreedyAlgorithm said...

Offhand I have no idea how well this would work, but have you considered instead of saying "you currently have an F!" giving a pie chart (or something) with grades A-F and area proportional to probability they get that grade? The obvious benefit is that after the first 4/6, while the F section will be larger, the A section will still be quite visible. The obvious problem is that you'd need a good method to assign these probabilities.

Another benefit is that at some point you could discuss the method of assigning probabilities. :)