Day 73: [SBG] + [Modeling Instruction] = [Learning]

CIS_Physics_Forces_Exam 2 Box Plot


I graded the forces exam for my college-at-my-high-school physics course over the last couple of days, and once again I was very pleased with the results. Here is a dynamic version of the graph above.

I attribute the gains I saw in this and the first exam to implementation of modeling instruction last year and a modified version of Standards Based Grading this year. To be truly transparent, the exams are a bit different year to year so it is difficult to make true comparisons, but the data so far is consistent for both exams, as well as with my qualitative observations that this year’s group has gained significantly in problem solving ability (again, see the SBG post). The FCI will be the true test of students’ conceptual gains, I’m excited to give it later this year.


Day 39: Exam 1

Exam 1 box plot

As I was grading this years Exam 1 in my concurrent enrollment college level physics class I had a feeling that students were really rocking it compared to last year, so naturally I spent 1-2 hours on a Saturday night playing with the data. This box plot is, I think, the best representation, showing that all four quartiles increased. This is verified in that the mean had a statistically significant increase (p<0.05) and the standard deviation decreased from around 13 to 9.

I am in the process of writing a blog post about why I believe this increase of scores occurred, so you’ll have to wait a bit for that. The teaser is that it’s a kind of Standards Based Grading (SBG) implementation for a class in which I can’t really do SBG.

Here is a more dynamic graph that gives the values of the quartiles.

UPDATE: Here’s the blog post, When You Can’t Do SBG

Day 34: Reassessment Day


Today I built a reassessment day into our schedule. I have 74 kids in this class (in 3 sections), and I printed out 55 reassessments on 4 different learning targets! The  gains they showed were impressive; approximately 80% increased their score and the other 20% showed some gains in understanding even though it didn’t change their score (I grade 2,1,0). More on my grading system coming soon on!

Day 88: Feedback


No, I didn’t skip a day….I have to write Friday’s post still, but wanted to do this while it was fresh on my mind. Both Frank Noschese and Kelly O’Shea (in conversation and probably in writing but I can’t find it) have talked about having students check their work and give themselves feedback directly after taking a quiz. I gave my first Standards-Based Grading quiz on Friday (Yay! I’m teaching the 2nd half of physics this semester which I helped change to SBG for the start of the year despite not teaching it), and immediately when students finished they could go to the back, grab a red pen, and give themselves feedback. The quiz above is a great example of a student where I had much less feedback to give (mine is in blue) because she did it herself, plus she got that information when it was fresh in her mind rather than after a weekend. Win-win!