My SBG Geometry Plans

After some dialogue with gasstationwithoutpumps and some additional thought on my part, I made a few changes to the skills list I talked about last post. Thanks for the ideas and discussion, g! My new, updated Geometry Skills List and personal course guide is posted here. I am mostly happy with it, including the fact that its number of skills is a power of 2! However, I am aware that #12 & #23 are both fuzzy, and I have yet to decide exactly how I will assess them. I’d still be happy of additional input for next year into the makeup of the list, even though the list is mostly set for this year. Or also thoughts on how to (more concretely) assess those two fuzzy skills.

A few more details on my SBG (Standards-Based Grading) plan for the semester:

  • I decided to steal Sam’s rubric and test it out, see how it goes. I admire it, as well as his thoughts on SBG at various times including his most recent detailed account of his new system.
  • I’ve borrowed a lot of Dan’s style in the following documents which I hereby share: a blank skills list handout for students to track their own progress, a more-visually-appealing version of the previously-discussed skills list, and the very first quiz I gave last Thursday assessing my skills #1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. Dan has a bunch of good philosophy and practical tips at that same page of his I linked: his “Comprehensive Math Assessment Resource”.
  • Although I didn’t steal handouts from other people, many many other math/science teacher bloggers and tweeps have helped me shape my ideas [and I’m sure will continue to do so as the semester progresses], so a big THANK YOU to y’all as well!
  • I plan to teach and assess 2-3 new skills each week, and assess/re-assess each skill 3-2 times, with the latest grade overwriting earlier ones in the gradebook (and of course the option to reassess more times in after-school or lunchtime coach class). Skills will have a quarter-based deadline to reassess by, since that is a date set by the district. I’m attracted to the idea of two perfect scores allowing you to skip the skill question when it rolls around for a third or more time (perfect scores of level 4, not just mastery at level 3); I may try this too.
  • To convert a student’s grade on skills into a percentage, I’m planning to go with my third conversion formula discussed in this post, though I do wish to revisit the issue when I plan for An SBG version of Algebra 2 with Trigonometry at the start of the spring semester. I shall give cumulative midterm and final exams, which are factored into the grade separately from the quarter grade of 50% skills quizzes and 50% projects.


Filed under math, teaching

7 responses to “My SBG Geometry Plans

  1. Hey mr yeates do you have a blog for pltw at phs to signed tlillard

  2. Hi,
    I’ve enjoyed checking out your website over the past day – there’s a lot of reading to catch up on! I’m very interested in finding out how different people apply standards and assessment. Your and Dan’s method resonates with me.

    I have a question about determining mastery. How confident are you that we can say a student has mastered a skill by correctly answering a skill question twice? I should point out that I’m a new teacher, currently working as a substitute teacher. So I don’t really have much practical experience with assessment. Let’s suppose for skill #12 a student gets graded with a 4, 3 and then a 4. For kicks, the student answers skill #12 again on the next quiz and gets a 2 or 3. What does this really say about the student’s mastery? Or perhaps my scenario is actually very unlikely.


    • nyates314

      As a short answer, I’d say you will need to balance confidence of student mastery with what you have time to assess & grade.

      To be 100% confident that a score is accurate and lasting, we would need to assess continually, but clearly we need time to teach too! The way I’ve set up my particular system, most skills will come around three times on subsequent quizzes, plus again on the midterm/final. I think that’s an improvement over the traditional system where I might assess a skill only twice: once on the quiz (through possibly in five instances that get averaged together with other related topics) and once on the unit test (maybe again on the final). Moreover, breaking down by skill/standard allows me more easily to track student growth, or conversely, decline.

      If you’re referring specifically to the two 4’s and the get-out-of-test-question-free pass, yes two scores are not a perfect measure of student achievement, but with each skill generally coming around three times, two seems like a nice balance between motivation and measurement. Plus, my 4s are given for perfect solutions, including all work shown, correct solution and units, (nearly) perfect measurement, etc. So if a student gets two 4s (not two 3.5s, mind you), I’m confident enough that the student has understood the skill in question – that is, confident enough that I’ll let them skip one question on the next quiz that will hopefully motivate them to study harder and get two 4s on the next skill.

      Now, while I believe SBG promotes retention more than the standard system, even bringing a skill up three times over the course of three weeks does not necessarily lead to long-term retention. So, as in the example you give, where I would guess the student forgot the skill due to disuse, that is why I still find value in the midterm and final. To encourage long-term memory and practice of the skill, to promote connections among skills taught at varying times, and to gauge my own success as a teacher, are some ways the midterm and final are important to me. Two 4s on weekly assessments prove to me that a student has mastered a skill; if the student scores a 4 on that skill on the final, that shows she has added that skill to her permanent repertoire.

    • nyates314

      Oh, and glad to hear you’ve enjoyed reading! Thanks for your comment & questions; I hope I’ve made some sense in my response.

  3. Pingback: Algebra 2 / Trig Skills « Maryland Math Madness

  4. Pingback: SBG Update « Maryland Math Madness

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