In Calculus I struck out with an intention of using the bold A/B/Not Yet assessment strategy. Given the broad strokes used to grade AP Exams, it seemed like a good fit. And unlike the SBG system I use in Pre Cal, I don't necessarily have to be weighed down by mandatory second attempts. That can be time consuming. One of the problems I had last year in Calculus was burning class days on assessments for the sake of filling a gradebook when there were probably more important things to do.

I gave the first one a couple days ago. The test had three sections. Class 1 and Class 2 are equal in size (36 vs 35). Here's the test if you're interested. I enter A as 95%, B as 85%, and Not Yet as either 50% or 0% depending on effort.

Chunking content gives me detailed information much like SBG. But I'm not forced to include it next time. Part of A/B/Not Yet is to offer opportunities for retakes. At the beginning of the year I vaguely mentioned that retakes would be "a part of the process" with the intent of figuring that idea out later.

I think I know how it'll go now. If the class as a whole does poorly, that's a sign that I should address some things and offer it a second time. Here, I should address some things about Limits and give everyone another shot on Test 2. The other stuff seemed to take pretty well, so a retake on those will be up to the student to do on their own time.

What else should be done differently? Well, I want to foster more student discussion about what they were asked. I said on the first day that a bunch of C students does me no good. First task upon handing these back will be pulling up the solutions (posted to a class website) and discussing what happened. I think most of the issues that happened in the Limits section will get cleared up just by talking with a peer for 5 minutes.

Like SBG, the act of putting a rating will make the student focus on the rating. It's unavoidable. Though I'm hoping the discussions and the retake triggers will encourage them to sort out weaknesses, i.e. care about learning, so we have a stronger group for the more difficult second semester.

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AuthorJonathan Claydon