Information about Assessments in MTH 325
Success in MTH 325 involves demonstrating evidence that you are satisfying the 20 learning targets that we have discussed. These learning targets are posted in several different places on Blackboard, most especially on the Lessons and Learning Targets board. Your primary opportunity to demonstrate proficiency on those learning targets is on Assessments.
Assessments are short, timed quiz-like assignments that occur in specially-designated class meetings. Those class meetings are scheduled on the calendar and reminders of those dates will be posted on Blackboard usually in the Friday "Weekly Preview" posts. With some exceptions, the general pattern is that every other Monday is used for assessments.
Some important facts about assessments include:
- Every assessment focuses on just one learning target and that learning target will be clearly indicated.
- Usually several assessments are available at every session. You are expected to pick and choose only those assessments you feel ready to take and have time to take. This means you are not expected to do all the available assessments at every session although if you want to try to do this, you are welcome.
- Assessments are graded on the EMRF rubric as described in the Specifications for Student Work. Specific expectations for E, M, R and F work on different learning targets will be posted at the Lessons and Learning Targets board, on the back of the card for the learning target along with tutorials for helping you prepare.
- Most importantly: If you take an assessment and want to raise the grade you get on it, you can retake it at any subsequent session. These will be new versions of the assessments, not duplicates of old ones. All previously-given assessments will continue to be available at assessment sessions.
To save paper, usually all the available assessments will be printed on a single handout. Then, you will do your work on those assessments on separate pieces of paper with each assessment getting a separate sheet. When you are ready to turn in your work, there will be file folders available that are labeled with the assessment number and you will just put your work in the appropriate folder.
Example: At the first session, the assessments available will be RI.1, RI.2, RI.3, and RI.4. These are four separate assessments. But students will get them printed on the same handout, with clear separations between the four. Suppose that Chuck decides to attempt RI.1 and RI.4 only. He can do this, and then defer taking RI.2 and RI.3 until later. He will take the handout and put his work for RI.1 on one piece of paper, and his work for RI.4 on another. When he's done, he comes up and finds the folder for RI.1 and puts his work in it; similarly he finds the folder for RI.4 and puts his work in it. If he has time, he can also go back and try either RI.2 or RI.3 (or both) if he wants. There's no penalty for not taking these, and no penalty for trying and getting sub-passing work.
When you come into assessment periods, you are allowed to bring something with which to write, a calculator, and blank paper for scratch notes. No other notes are allowed, and devices that connect to the internet (such as smartphones) are not allowed. If you need a calculator, loaners are available in the Math Department office (MAK A-2-178). You can also bring a list of assessments that you plan to take. In certain cases, additional notes may be allowed (for example RI.2 in which the use of a flowchart for proof analysis is allowed).
When the session is over, your work will be given to a student grader whose job is to go through the work and find all instances where the work is clearly going to be graded "F". This student grader has undergone some training with the EMRF rubric and has been told how to spot "F" work, and his selections will be quality-control checked by myself before recording grades. All non-F work is passed along to me for further marking.
Then I take the rest and decide using the rubric whether the work is E, M, or R. If needed, I will put detailed feedback on your work prior to handing it back. Then you will receive your work back, on paper, in class. I typically give one week to complete the grading process, which will give you time once you have your work back to ask questions, study the feedback, and prepare for a re-take if necessary.
The grades for these are posted to Blackboard.
Preparing for assessments
First, be aware of the learning targets themselves and have a good knowledge of what you know and do not know about them. Through practice, have an honest sense of whether you can answer "Yes" or "No" to the statement in each learning target. Then look at the learning targets that are available and select the ones you feel ready to be assessed on, and will have time for.
To get ready to take assessments, practice is key. Practice the learning targets using your work from class in Preview Activities, Daily Homework and other activities; through examples found on the web or in our secondary textbook; and so on. Through practice you will come to know what you are ready to be assessed on and what you are not ready for.
Once you have made your selections, come in with a list of assessments you wish to take. Then get right to work when time begins.