When I first developed this unit, I made the mistake of administering a pre-made test developed by the textbook company that can be used to assess students on their prior knowledge of the standards I am focusing on (pre-test). Unfortunately, after careful review of the questions in this test, it didn’t quite cover all the standards that my unit was covering. That forced me to develop a better post test that will assess student’s learning. I administered this test today in class, so I will review them this weekend and share with my student’s whether they met the standards of my unit, or needs improvement on Monday. I think this method of comparing a pre-test and post test is the best way to show that learning occurred. I will use my rubric I wrote to carefully determine this.
One of the other pieces of evidence that I have gathered during the unit is results of formative assessments done with my MimioVote handsets (clickers). What was great about this tech tool was that I could administer a short 5-6 question assessment to monitor learning by identifying misconceptions, successes, and areas of need. Although I administered these MimioVote assessments 5 times, only the last 3 were recorded. The process of using clickers was an immediate way to provide feedback to both me and the students during learning. This process, to me, was the most beneficial aspect of trying to differentiate in my whole career! Honestly. I have always read about providing students with immediate feedback for any activity, assignment, or assessment, and clickers is one of the best tools to do this. One nice aspect of this tool is that I can set it up for class use by allowing students to answer questions anonymously, or by recording their responses. The first two times I used the system in my unit, I used the anonymous mode, mostly due to make sure my tech system worked, but it allowed students to answer questions without consequence of failure. It was great. During use of the clickers, it generated conversation, discussion, and honest self-evaluation by the students themselves. It was interesting that some of them openly admited to answering incorrectly for what ever reason, and they felt okay (I think) to do this in front of the class. They were in the process of learning!
Another method to gather evidence was to take photos of some of the assignment pages that had problems from different students that they turned in. One way to differentiate in math is to allow students to choose their own problems that they feel comfortable answering, and feel challenged to answer. You would be surprized how they don’t always choose the “easy” ones, they do try some more “difficult” ones in their assignment. I have done this for quite a few years now, and I think it gives students a sense of ownership of their work, and can be a confidence builder. I state to them they should do some core problems, but attempt some more difficult ones at the end of the assignment section.
The last piece of evidence I will be able to provide for this unit is to have the students do a performance task. This is really where the rubber meets the road. The task will be a real-life problem that they need to solve using the skills they learned in the unit. I will administer it this next week, but hopefully in time for the reflection that is due at the end of this course. I really want to know if they can transfer the skills they learned. This is so difficult in math education, and I hope they perform well!