This is basically how I introduced assessments in all of my classes today
"Quizzes and tests are not a measure of who you are, or even really what you know. They are a single measure of what you are capable of at the moment when you take them. I know everyone has off days and brain farts. It's also important to me that you not overstress about this class. It's an elective and supposed to be (and will be) awesome! I use tests and quizzes to show me what I need to cover more deeply, not to keep you from graduating.
"If you have an off day, or just decide that you don't like the grade you earned, you'll be able to make it up. I want you to grow and learn. When you have finished with your quizzes today, go to the back of the room where I have put some answer keys and check your work. You will be grading them yourselves using the highlighters I've put there."
This last part comes from the brilliant Frank Noschese and helps students have more ownership over their work.
Later in the year, I'll be giving credit for correcting mistakes, but for now, I wanted them to get used to grading their own papers.
First period seemed to do very well with this setup. The later periods told me that everyone was going to get 100% because they were just going to mark everything right. We had a brief conversation about the value of learning over grades and it MAY have sunk in. I wasn't convinced, so I reminded them I would also be marking them and they wouldn't get 100% if they didn't show me that they knew 100% of the information.
I was pleased with how seriously most of the students took the quiz and the opportunity for immediate feedback. Several students came up to asking me to explain why the answers were the way they were. I was very happy to see that they wanted to know not just that they were wrong, but why.
I was less pleased with the results, but I'm not going to be too upset about it. As I promised, I'll provide them with the opportunity to re-do the quizzes if they choose. Due to the diverse gap of mathematical background knowledge, I don't plan to emphasize too much in terms of calculation. I am much more concerned with theory and practice.
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