First quiz today--Frustrated

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by MZWilson, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. MZWilson

    MZWilson New Member

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    Aug 30, 2011

    Hello all,

    I've read a ton of the forums but decided it was time to go ahead and register.

    This is my first year teaching (Spanish) and I gave our first quiz today over the basics. I've done lots of quizzes and tests in my student teaching and my placements, but this is the first time I've run into a score discrepancy so large. I expected the classes to be within a few percentage points of each other but the two classes that took the quiz had averages of about 81% and about 60%.

    I can't for the life of me figure out why there is such an enormous difference between the two. I taught the same lessons, same activities, in generally the same way. The lower scoring kids were my afternoon class--the second time I teach that class in the day--so I felt like I was better for that class. I was just hoping for some ideas of what I might be able to better focus on to make sure things come out more equally. I tried to be consistent and fair.

    I know some of the problem is students not studying, some of the answers made that abundantly clear. I'm also realistic in knowing that some of it is me as well.

    Wow, rather long winded. I'm just looking for some suggestions and advice to help ease some of my frustration.

    Thanks,

    MZW
     
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  3. dovian

    dovian Comrade

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    Aug 30, 2011

    Different classes have different mixes of kids, even if they are supposedly the same "level". You may find that the second class always has lower scores, and if you do a little digging you may find that they have lower scores across the board in other subjects. Which is to say, it's nothing you did or didn't do, it's just the way those kids are. Also, all other things equal, the kids are sometimes just more distracted in the afternoon, especially at the very end of the day; they've used up all their concentration, or they've just come from lunch, or any number of other things.

    Now, that doesn't mean you shouldn't keep trying to engage them, or that they are not good students or are incapable of learning the subject. I think I would have a talk with the lower scoring class - DON'T compare them to the other group - just say that you were disappointed. Maybe have a reflective writing about how they studied, what they expected to get and how they feel about what they got. Have them set individual goals for the next quiz and think about one thing they can do differently to prepare. (In fact this is probably a good assignment for both groups.)
     
  4. porque_pig

    porque_pig Comrade

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    Aug 30, 2011

    A personal observation: my afternoon classes always struggle more than my morning classes. They're antsy after being in school for several hours, so their attention spans are off. How many questions did you have on the quiz? Shorter quizzes also tend to have greater score discrepancies.
     
  5. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

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    Aug 30, 2011

    With time, you'll probably find that keeping the same lessons and activities for different classes doesn't always work. Different kids need things tweaked in different ways so they "get it."
     
  6. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Aug 30, 2011

    Different classes can have different general ability levels because of scheduling for tracked MA and English.

    When I had a class of kids who were in algebra part 1, they would trail behind the other sections significantly unless I made major modifications.

    Sometimes different groups just really have different needs. And actually, I think a large part of my class was that the students had low self-efficacy for science because of their math troubles. We weren't doing math in Earth Science, but I still had to pound the self defeating attitude out if them (with kindness and fun projects!). That's harder to deal with than lower ability because the kids fight you more.
     
  7. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Aug 31, 2011

    If I taught the same class 5th block and either 1st or 2nd, my 5th block consistently scored well below my earlier in the day class. This happened every term. Typical average in my 5th block was about 75% and typical early day was probably 83% - 85%.

    So anyway, I don't have any advice for you, just wanted to let you know that I have experienced this as well.
     
  8. Letsgo

    Letsgo Rookie

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    Sep 3, 2011

    As someone else mentioned, it may be that the afternoon class has lower level students due to tracking. This would probably only happen in a small school. If advanced math and English are offered in the afternoon, those students are taking Spanish in the morning, leaving the other group of students to take it in the afternoon.
     
  9. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Sep 3, 2011

    I've always had my last block of the day do much better on tests than any other block. But they were my hardest to handle.

    This year, after only two assessments, it looks as though it will be the lowest scoring block. The majority of my EC students are in fourth block so that will substantially change the average too.

    I don't like to look at class averages for that reason. If you have ONE student in your class that refuses to do any work, your class average will go down. The human dynamics are just too varied for me to pay much attention to the average scores.
     
  10. MZWilson

    MZWilson New Member

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    Sep 4, 2011

    Thanks for all the kind words. It turns out a lot of my kids are lower achieving in this hour...would have been nice to know before hand. The average wasn't as bad as I thought once I took the lowest handful of kids out of the math. There were a few that failed spectacularly that really brought the whole down.

    We did talk about how to better prepare for next time and I took an anonymous poll of the amount of time they studied--most did very little at-home review.
     
  11. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 4, 2011

    One thing that makes a huge difference in the big picture is to look at the MEDIAN, not the mean. It will give you a more accurate picture at what the "average kid" (as though there's any such thing) scored. Extremely high or low scores won't skew it the way they will the mean.

    I find the median for all my tests, and for many of my quizzes.
     

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