Week 9 Reflection

What assessments will I use in my UBD Unit, and what is the purpose of these assessments?

I was great to read other people’s assessment ideas for their UbD unit.  Jim has used Khan Academy and this last year I used it quite a bit for some of my struggling Algebra 1 students.  I commented to him that although I like Khan, there is little control over what content students should work on and be assessed on.  But then, that isn’t the main idea behind Khan Academy.  It’s a student resource, not a electronic learning platform for teachers to use to monitor achievement, which I tried to use it as.  I also asked Jim if he realized that once students “master” a content area, if the student gets assessed at a later time on the same content, and they answer those questions incorrectly, Khan changes the content so it shows that the student didn’t “master” the content!  The only reason I know is because I was a “student” going through the Algebra one course content on Khan and I noticed that the assessments are varied throughout your progress through the course.  It can assess you on current content practiced, but also content mastered weeks, and months ago.

I like how Mariah uses STAR Math.  I have not used this assessment program, but have not had a chance to review it.  I visited their website and it appears that they now have high school level content in Algebra, and Geometry, but not high level than these.  At this point, I like our current math resource called MathXL for School.  I have commented on this program in past blogs, but it can be used in any high school math course as an assessment tool, which is great because there are few resources like this for upper level math.  I hope our school curriculum coordinator can find funding for us to use this in all of our high school math courses, and not just Algebra 1 support classes.

I teased Heather in my comment to her about stating she has difficulty making assessments interesting.  I said that I don’t think you can make assessments interesting! But I also stated that of all the possible assessments we can give students, I like performance assessments.  For math, I think this is the best assessment because students get to use their newly learned content and apply it to real life problems, but I also commented that I still have difficult in creating these types of assessments for advanced algebra.  That’s the same reason I love teaching statistics.  There are many uses and content areas you can gather data from and analyze it.  There are usually no issues to make statistics real!

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