Reason #52 why I enjoy the way I test: reacting to problems. Last Friday I gave a test over Transformations, Parent Functions, Proportions, Linear Equations, and Linear Inequalities. Here's each class' average:
For a first attempt, averaging above a 3 tells me that most of the class gets it and we can move on to harder things. But check out those red bars. Across the board one class struggled in all three categories, in one case an entire point behind their counterparts. When the smoke cleared, roughly 45% of that class scored 0, 1, or 2 on the topic at hand. Clearly we've had a miscommunication. In a normal situation, what do you do? Break the routine, review the content, and spend another class day retesting with another 25 question test over the whole chapter. What am I going to do? Split the class in half, work with the ones who struggled, give the others something enriching to do, and let them show me they made progress on the second attempt. Impact to testing schedule? None.
The test was Friday, we're correcting the problem today. The kids know they have a second chance to prove themselves. When you test the whole chapter, how would you know where to focus a reteach effort? When you give two tests a grading period, can you fix something this quickly?