Day 22: The One With the Group Quiz

Curriculum partner and I are testing a new unit assessment structure, which consists of a group test (today), a written study guide reflection (tomorrow) and an individual test (Friday).

The group test went surprisingly well today (knock on wood). Most groups worked pretty productively the whole period. One class struggled a bit, but I suspect reasons other than the test).

Both the group test and individual test focus on conceptual questions – who’s right, fix the mistake, fill in the next step type problems. We also ask students to write about their work and their thinking.We’re hoping this will move away from strictly procedural problems and will give access to students who may not understand an entire concept but can at least show some understanding.

Photo: The Group Quiz

The Group Quiz

This particular problem was tricky for lots of students – there are multiple errors, which offers more access points (we think) but can get tricky for students who are trying to check parts of the problem against each other (Does that make sense? They think they find an error, then say, “but it doesn’t agree with this part of the problem and now I can’t tell which part is wrong”.)

This particular student stepped up their game quite a bit. Lots of speaking English, lots of working with the group. For someone who didn’t speak much English at the beginning of the year, their answer shows a lot of growth in English (I think).

Big takeaways:

Limiting questions can be a thing. I’ve been working on getting groups to ask group questions rather than individual questions. That is, they’re supposed to check with their entire group before calling me over. When they call me over, I acknowledge the person calling me over (the Resource Manager), then ask someone else the question. The idea is that the group will have already discussed the question with all group members, who will be familiar enough with the question to ask the teacher without being prompted. Today, we further limited students to only 2 group questions during a 55 minute period. Very few groups even asked one question and no one used both group questions (as I recall).

Also, students like a bit of drama. Curriculum partner and I wanted to hold groups accountable so we decided to only review one quiz from each group. I picked randomly and students were generally transfixed (out of fear that their test would be chosen and out of fear that someone else’s test would be chosen). A bit of random ceremony does wonders for everyone, I guess.

Fun quotes from students:

“You feel me, bro?” (checking for understanding. At least it was in English)

“You need help with spelling? Ask my grandma.”

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