I just distributed the first online survey of the year for my AP Calculus students. Others are to follow shortly.
Why the survey and why now? I sense that many students are not preparing adequately for class for a variety of reasons. Student scores on a recent test covering the chain rule, implicit differentiation, inverse trigonometric differentiation, derivatives of exponential and logarithmic functions, and logarithmic differentiation as well as a quiz on related rates both concentrated at far below basic and below basic in terms of level of understanding; essentially, a significant part of the class received a D or an F on their assessments. At the same time, it is not clear if student preparation is the primary cause, as the concepts are of increasing complexity, especially related rates.
Additionally, I only graded the past two assessments as free response, where it is readily clear whether a student understands a topic, concept, or procedure. Unfortunately, I was unable to discern student understanding on all topics as clearly earlier as I needed to rely heavily upon multiple choice responses, which can mask true understanding; I did notice shifts in score distributions earlier when using multiple choice, and then re-taught and re-assessed, however the need to do so diminished so I felt students were on track.
The dilemma related to assessment type looms large for me, as there is insufficient time to use free response assessments more often given the amount of time it takes to score them, yet they offer the most clear evidence of student understanding and the highest potential for specific feedback to a student. This is one of the many systemic dilemmas that exist in secondary education.
Further complicating the dilemma for this second-year teacher with three preps, each course requires me to develop new materials before each lesson or assessment. I try to leverage what the great internet reveals, however, much of the time those items fall short, or miss the mark for my lesson’s needs. So, I spend an inordinate amount of time each day outside of class planning and preparing for the next day’s three different lessons.
AP Calculus AB 2012-2013 Fall Survey #1: Student Preparation
With this student survey, I’m hoping to learn what impedes my students’ success, as well as how best to get them to invest more time outside of class on preparation. The first few questions in the survey follow.
Subsequent surveys will focus on content mastery, teaching methods, student learning, supplemental resources, and other attributes.
Live, Online Survey
You can see the entire online survey here. Please refrain from responding, as it will clutter up real student responses. However, I am able to filter out errant responses if you inadvertently respond.
Please let me know your thoughts.
As background context, I assign homework for each learning segment, which typically maps to a section in our text. I do not collect, correct, or grade it with any regularity. I do reserve the right to announce pop-collections of homework, although I have not done so often. While I do not collect homework, students must keep completed homework in their notebook, which I collect and grade once per six-week marking period. Notebook scores contribute to a “Notebook / Classwork” grade category, which counts 25% towards their grade. Any homework missing from a student’s notebook prevents them from obtaining the maximum score.