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Summer School Conclusion

Well, my little cherubs are working away on their final exam as I compose this post.  I can honestly say that in my six years that I have taught summer school, this has been my most successful.  I think that SBG helped me in focus my teaching, while it helped my students make sense of and keep track of the skills and content they were supposed to be learning.  Also, the Binder Checks proved immensely valuable in keeping my students organized and it gave me a worthwhile way to check their homework.

In the summer school program I teach at we are required to give some sort of end of year assessment.  I see-sawed on many different ideas, but I ended up cheaping out and going with an in-class final exam.  I took all of my quizzes (and therefore guaranteed that my final covered the course content evenly due to the SBG format I used) and put them into one big document.  I played around with formatting, changed the numbers on MOST of the problems, et cetera.  The big surprise for the students was that when they came in to take the exam this morning, I announced that I would let them use their binders.  In other words, that it was “open notebook”.  It has been extremely gratifying for the last hour to sit and watch these students flip through their binders, remember how to do a problem, and then show me they can do it on their exam.  Please remember that, for the most part, these are students whom have not found success in mathematics for many years.  On this final, however, they are truly showing me what  they know and is not that what a final exam should be all about?

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