Wonders of the Weekly Quiz

Friday was a busy day at placement.  My supervisor, CT and I had our kickoff 3-way meeting which went well, but no cookies :(.  In P2 (Algebra 1), I monitored their weekly quiz since my CT had to rush out for 15-20 minutes to assist another group of students with something.  Students were well behaved, focused on their tests, and quieter than I expected afterward; I only needed to press my finger to my lips a couple of times so one pair of female students would stop chatting and gesture to my ear so a male student would remove his earbud and they all complied.

Prior to leaving the room, my CT gave me a copy of the quiz, asked me to take it for use as a key, determine how many points I would assign per problem and how I would treat partial credit.  Later in the day, during P4 (Algebra 1), I shared my suggestion of a total points of 25 pts. and partial credit per problem but had overlooked a mistake I made initially when determining the total points (forgot the back side of the quiz which had 12 problems!) but when I discovered the back side originally, I did not revise my total point formula.  So…that was a minor embarrassment, but recoverable, however further complexity was added when my CT mentioned she does not like to give 1/2 points for partial credit so in order not to have them, I made the front nine and back twelve problems all worth two points each, with the possibility of 1 point each for partial credit.  This ended up with a total possible point score of 42 points (21 probs x 2 pts./prob) which my CT said was too high; I felt similarly since my original target was 25 pts. but in the pressure of real-time, while students were taking their quizzes (and shussing us, which my CT did not find funny – she did not say anything but the stare she gave could have ignited wet wood), and the desire to allow partial credit for all problems with the constraint of no half points, this is where I ended up.  While this post might bore you, I write it to show the level of complexity, thinking, discourse, etc involved in a supposedly simple exercise of determining points and partial credit for a weekly quiz.  It was not as simple as it sounded.

The same scenario played out in P3 with AP Stats.  This time, there were only two problems, each with two sub-problems each.  I took the quiz quickly, but not as quick as I could have were I more familiar with the TI-84 as I have been an HP user for 25 years, assigned points (35 total = prob 1 (20 + 5) and prob 2 (5 + 5)).  I did not have enough time to address partial credit; I was helping throughout the class period distributing quizzes, handing out reference packets of equations, picking quizzes up, answering questions, jotting quick observations as field notes, etc.

When reviewing my initial point total assignments, I did mention to my CT that I felt weekly quizzes should have the same or similar point totals but not knowing the prior weekly quiz total points made my exercise a bit challenging since I was guessing in the dark but wanted to be a sport and “put a stake in the ground” so to speak.  I found the entire exercise a bit amusing as well as frustrating since instructions were very limited and bursty, but as something to reflect upon it was helpful nonetheless in highlighting some of the myriad of decisions teachers need to make during a class, and the existence of them, much less the answers for them, is nowhere near obvious to the average bear.

About Dave aka Mr. Math Teacher

Independent consultant and junior college adjunct instructor. Former secondary math teacher who taught math intervention, algebra 1, geometry, accelerated algebra 2, precalculus, honors precalculus, AP Calculus AB, and AP Statistics. Prior to teaching, I spent 25 years in high tech in engineering, marketing, sales and business development roles in the satellite communications, GPS, semiconductor, and wireless industries. I am awed by the potential in our nation's youth and I hope to instill in them the passion to improve our world at local, state, national, and global levels.
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1 Response to Wonders of the Weekly Quiz

  1. Adriana says:

    I should have just pressed my finger against my lips to tell students to be quiet during tests! The fact that I’m not talking to stop them talking would really get them to stop! By the way, I had difficulty stopping students from chatting during a test on Tuesday.

    Yeah, coming up with the grading scheme for a quiz is difficult. Don’t be hard on yourself. I don’t think you CT would have expected you to do what she had in mind.


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