Achievement as a Function of Effort – Reality or Myth?

Reflections of a Second-career Math Teacher

While preparing to assign final grades for my three sections of algebra 1 students, I decided to see if their was any relationship between their classwork and assessment scores, where classwork used the average of eighteen different assignments and assessments used the eight different assessments given over the semester.   An x-y scatter plot of the two categories for 96 algebra 1 students follows.  The x-y scatter plot contains a linear trend line as a visual aid.  A correlation coefficient of 0.7 exists for the data.  A mean of 60% and a standard deviation of 20% exist for both classwork and assessments.

The data exhibit significant variation, especially midrange.  The uppermost, and lowermost, two deciles are much tighter.

Many hypotheses are possible for different interpretations of the data.  One could argue that there are distinct groupings of student achievement / effort that explain some of the dispersion in the data.  Consider…

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About Dave aka Mr. Math Teacher

Secondary math teacher teaching math intervention, algebra 1, honors precalculus, and AP Calculus AB. 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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