Remote Learning — Week 12

Published by MrHonner on

Remote Learning demands a different approach to assessment, so developing a final assessment plan for my courses has been an interesting challenge.

For my 9th grade Geometry class, the New York State Regents exam would have been the final exam for the course. The state cancelled these exams in April and actually absolved students of ever having to take them. This meant I needed to design some kind of final assessment, but it also gave me the freedom to approach it however I wished.

I settled on a portfolio of small items that covered a variety of skills and gave students options in terms of demonstrating what they learned in the course. For their Final Portfolios, each Geometry student had to complete the following:

  • A 2-page mathematical paper on the geometry topic of their choice
  • A dynamic Geogebra demonstration
  • A 1-page written reflection on the year
  • A comprehensive End-of-Year survey
  • A short Exit Interview conduct via video conference

In preparation for the paper, I had students learn to use the equation editor in Google Docs and practice typesetting math and laying out diagrams. The papers ranged in style from recapping theorems and examples from class to remarkably comprehensive overviews of topics like the inscribed angle theorem, rigid motions, and Varignon’s Theorem (my favorite theorem!). Thanks to the earlier practice, for the most part these final papers turned out beautifully.

My Calculus students still had a traditional summative assessment, as they all took the AP exam in May. So for their Final Portfolio I gave them the freedom to design and produce an end-of-year project that was meaningful to them. This isn’t so different from what I often do in advanced courses, but the students were especially creative this year: I’m still working my way through videos, podcasts, computer programs, art projects, and interactive demonstrations. And two students even wrote and hosted a virtual Integration Bee as their final project, looking to recapture a fun in-person experience they were missing out on this year.

This approach has definitely left me with more work to review, evaluate, and respond to at the end of the year. But the balance of work — mathematical, creative, personal — together with the opportunity to see each student to debrief, creates a satisfying sense of closure and accomplishment at the end of what has been a very challenging school year.

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