Philosophy on quizzes

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by hubbopolis, Oct 2, 2014.

  1. hubbopolis

    hubbopolis Rookie

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    Oct 2, 2014

    Heads up...potentially overprotective parent here. :)

    I've got a situation that I'm trying to evaluate with my oldest. About a month ago she took a quiz that was followed by a test a few days later. Up until that point she had been doing pretty well, getting 100% on all of her assignments, she did bomb her first quiz but brought it up to a B on her second. Unfortunately this third quiz and subsequent test didn't turn out so hot. Approximately two weeks after she took them, the teacher returned both and she got a D and D- respectively. To make matters worse, these two assessments combined for 150 points, and to this day they only have 310 points worth of graded material in the quarter. In short, she's rocking a D in the class now.

    We work with her quite a bit because math is neither natural or enjoyable for her. She's in pre-calc as a junior and has been getting A's and B's for the most part, so she really does put in the work. My initial reaction was a bit 'meh' because she's been very busy and there was a lot of new material. However, I started getting upset when I reviewed the actual papers. She made a simple mental error in the quiz (flipping domains and ranges) that basically devastated her grade. No big deal, it happens. However, she did the EXACT SAME THING on the test, with the same results.

    This is where the philosophy question comes in. What is the purpose of a quiz? To me it's a diagnostic for the teacher to assess where the students are and a standard for the students to understand what type of material is going to be on upcoming assessments. To be effective in this role, however, the quiz really needs to be graded and returned to the students at least a day prior to any subsequent tests. If that would have happened here, a D on the quiz would have got our attention, we would have seen the error and corrected it in time for the test. However, that's not what happened here.

    I'm personally of the opinion that the teacher dropped the ball and I want something to be done about it. I'm not a big fan of retaking tests, but I'd be open to that or just dropping the quiz off of the gradebook entirely as it basically was of essentially no use. (edit: i think i would probably tend to request a retest because scores are weighted 15/20/65 for homework/quizzes/tests respectively)

    I'm sitting on this for now in hopes of getting some feedback from a teacher's perspective. My wife has been teaching for nearly a decade and we're basically on the same page, but we're not exactly impartial here. :)

    Thanks
     
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  3. physteach

    physteach Companion

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    Oct 2, 2014

    Quizzes should be returned promptly, but it would be out of line to request an individual retest or for a grade to be dropped.
     
  4. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Oct 2, 2014

    I have the same views that you do about quizzes.

    They are diagnostics for me and the students. I usually have them peer grade them immediately for feedback and I rarely put them into the grade. Even if I did, they're worth next to nothing.

    Still not all teachers may view quizzes the same way. I would start by mentioning your concerns to the teacher and asking her if there is anything that your daughter can do to make up this quiz or test. Point out to her that it was a simple mistake and that she'd really like the chance to try it again.
     
  5. hubbopolis

    hubbopolis Rookie

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    I'm not asking for special treatment, but it does bring up a good point that I need to make that clear. She should let the whole class retake it if they want, everyone was equally affected by the grading turnaround (and some of my daughters friends did equally poorly on both).
     
  6. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    When did she get the results from her quiz?
     
  7. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Oct 2, 2014

    OP's first paragraph says that the quiz and the subsequent test were handed back at the same time, about two weeks after the quiz was taken.
     
  8. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Sounds like that teacher wasn't using formative assessments correctly and was just going for points. Blech. That's why I always allow retesting with me so they can learn from their errors without feeling penalized.
     
  9. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Talk to the teacher. Just get the story straight.

    I just received an email from a parent who was angry because her didn't know she had failed a quiz, didn't have any opportunity tomlearn theconcept before the test, and did poorly on the test.

    In reality, students know their quiz scores as soon as they finish the test. If they do not score proficient, they are immediately given an online remediation assignment that is due in a week.

    I'm not saying I haven't dropped the ball on occasion, but this time the student and parent had. The daughter (good student and typically hard worker) did not WANT to do the online assignment. Mom was not checking the online grade system or monitoring the classroom Facebook page.

    So, ask. Don't accuse. Put in a plan to make things better next time.
     
  10. hubbopolis

    hubbopolis Rookie

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    This is all I'm asking for. She's a junior, we've got experience recovering after bad quiz grades.

    I have exchanged a few emails with the teacher already regarding this issue. Her policy is that no quizzes are returned until every student takes them, and I feel that's perfectly reasonable. However, I asked whether or not the quiz grades were available prior to the test and have not received a response in nearly a week. I plan to meet with her to discuss everything from this point forward.
     
  11. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Seems to me that her policy about quizzes, which is reasonable on its own, is clashing with what is beneficial for the students as a whole.

    I'm sorry you are dealing with this. There is no reason that the teacher can't give back the grade without giving the quiz and ask any student that wants to look at the quiz in order to learn concepts can stop by at whatever time the school has available for students to get extra help. If for some reason that doesn't work a pre-arranged time can be decided upon.

    A student should know that he or she failed a quiz in enough time to learn what was not known. Based on the grade alone students should be aware if they need to check in with the teacher for some extra guidance.
     
  12. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Were the grades posted online or in the classroom? Did students know what they had earned on their quiz, even if they didn't have a chance to see the quiz itself?
     
  13. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    I don't return quizzes until everybody has taken them either, which at my school means never.

    But I do try to post quiz grades the same day, and students can come see their quiz whenever they wish. I also usually have mini conferences with students about low quiz grades as soon as possible.

    Mostly, I use quiz grades to scare students into studying for tests. A lot of our material is stuff kids either study or don't (like knowing where the equator is) so usually a crappy grade is because they didn't care. Sometimes this motivates them to study for the test.
     
  14. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    If a teacher gives out a quiz, and the next assessment is an exam, that quiz better be graded and returned well in advance of the exam. That's my philosophy.

    And if there are students who have yet to take the quiz, I'd still return the other quizzes and design a "Quiz B" for the missing students. It isn't fair for the other students that a few are straggling or sick.
     
  15. hubbopolis

    hubbopolis Rookie

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    The quiz was taken on Sept 5th (Friday), the test on Sept 9th (following Tuesday). I sent my wife an email with a screenshot of all the grades entered into PowerSchool on Sept. 12th (Friday) and there still was nothing in there for either the quiz or the test. She actually took another quiz on Sept 15th (Monday) for the next unit and got a D on that one as well. So basically within the course of ten days there was two quizzes and a test with no grades or results from any of them for the kids or parents to review. I don't actually know yet when the grades were available, but we didn't see them until the 23rd.

    I think we're back on track now, she's got 100% on a quiz on the 19th and a couple of assignments since then. The next quiz isn't until next week.

    Again this is all i would ask for. Ideally the teacher would reach out of she sees a student take a nose dive due to some minor conceptual errors, but I know there are a lot of students and that isn't always possible.

    Thanks again folks, this is helping.
     
  16. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    I am the same exact way.

    I NEVER give any graded work back to students - NEVER. I show the student their grade in class, update my online gradebook and I let the student take a picture of the grade if they want.

    My quizzes are designed to remind kids that they need to take notes and participate in class everyday. I give weekly quizzes (a short, 10 question assessment on Fridays) and I give 3 major tests per semester.
     
  17. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I give quizzes for two reasons mainly. One, to keep kids on their toes. Most of my students will study or at least look over their notes if they know they'll have a quiz the next day. But they won't, no matter how many times I tell them they'll do better if they review notes each night, if there isn't a quiz. Second, I do it to see if they are getting the info that I want them to get before a test.

    Now, neither of those reasons require a grade. But if I didn't grade the quizzes, students would not give a genuine effort.

    I believe that students should be given a chance to correct mistakes before they take a test. An easy way to do that is to pass back the quizzes as soon as possible. But sometimes I can't do that. So I might review with the students, making sure to hit the key ideas that were in the quiz. I might specifically re-teach the concepts that were missed the most on the quiz.

    These are things that might have happened and you might not be aware of:

    Your daughter could have not shared the full truth. She may have gotten her quiz back to see her mistakes but the teacher took it back up because other students still needed to take it.

    Your daughter's quiz may have been the fourth or fifth time she had to perform that math task for her teacher. Her teacher may have already corrected your daughter's mistake several times before the quiz and she felt like the quiz was more summative in nature than formative.

    The teacher may have covered the common mistakes that were made in class and expected her students to recognize what mistakes they had made and pay attention to the corrections.

    Now, as a teacher, I have issues with two things you stated. It is simply not your place to suggest a re-take or even think about a re-take, especially since you only have your daughter's versions of events. Also, PowerSchool is a very useful tool. But one that has somehow convinced parents that they have a right to know what grades their kids are getting immediately. No, it is not the teacher's responsibility to keep your curiosity and concern at bay 24/7. If you need to know THAT DAY what your child got on her paper/test/whatever, ask her. If she says she doesn't know, she's either lying or the teacher didn't get to it yet. If it is the former, that's on you and your child. If it is the latter, you need to be patient and realize that teachers are given 10-14 hours worth of work to do in 8.
     
  18. hubbopolis

    hubbopolis Rookie

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    Just from my perspective, having access to the graded material (homework, quiz or test) has be instrumental in finding where the issues are and focusing on them.

    Anything's possible and the items you've pointed out certainly could be part of the issue. In the dialog I've had with the teacher to date, none of them have been pointed out to me, but I'm keenly aware of the possibility.

    I'm married to a teacher. Two of her brothers are teachers and two of her sisters-in-law are teachers. I regularly assist with the local levy campaigns and do whatever I can in my capacity to support educators. I know what happens behind the scenes with PowerSchool, I've been firsthand witness to the frustrations and effort it causes.

    I can also understand and appreciate that you believe it is not my place to request a retest, and I'm sure (based on prior statements) that this particular teacher would agree. In general I don't tell my doctors how to do their exams, my pilots how to fly their planes or my kid's teachers how to prepare them for the rest of their lives. That said, I know if my doctor messed up a stitch or my pilot smells like whisky or my kid's teacher blows a test. It's happened before and will happen again, and it absolutely is my place to create an opportunity for them to correct it, whether or not you or anyone else agree. I don't care if she ultimately retakes the test, I don't even like retakes and "test corrections". I'm just offering that up as a proxy for material action that will correct the situation. I'm certainly open to alternatives, but they need to achieve the same objective for me to go away.
     
  19. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    your attitude needs to change if you expect this semester to work out the best that it can for your daughter. Surely your wife and all of your family members can coach you on how to approach a teacher appropriately. I do NOT suggest you lead with "you need to make me happy or else I won't go away."

    I think your time would be best spent by asking the teacher HER philosophy on quizzes, asking HER what happened with this particular assessment and getting your daughter some extra help so she doesn't mess up on quizzes to start. While the teacher didn't do what I think was ideal, your issue should really be more with your daughter's understanding than the grading policies.
     
  20. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Sometimes things just don't get graded in a timely manner for whatever reason. I had to put some essays on the back burner while I was handling some other things going on. I let the kids know it would be awhile and I'll let them know when they're done. No problems. I felt bad but life does sometimes happen. I have four preps so they're understanding mostly.
     
  21. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Just curious - would you have been as upset if the teacher had not given a quiz at all?

    Your daughter would have one less bad grade. But like you said earlier, she also would not have had exposure to what will be on the test. She surely wouldn't have done BETTER on the test without the preview. So she still would have had a D- on the test (or worse). A D- (or worse) that is worth over three times as much as the D she got on the quiz.
     
  22. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    My school has asked us not to return graded work to students unless we make copies first. I'm not making copies of every graded assignment for every child. Also, I don't give homework - just tests and quizzes.
     
  23. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    EXACTLY ...
     
  24. hubbopolis

    hubbopolis Rookie

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    Wow, in that case I completely understand.

    I'm sure I'm coming across as some aggro maniac, but I'm just trying to get to the heart of the matter in this forum. I don't really see how just letting it go is going to improve the outcome, and my passive approach has yielded nothing to date.

    The only reason I'm going through this process is that I'm concerned for my kid's understanding. This is our second year with this teacher, she has made her policies very clear from the start and I don't need to explore them with her any further. She had no explanation for what happened with the quiz and test, just offered to meet with her after school.

    No. From my original post:

    In this case that exposure simply reinforced her incorrect understanding. Flipping domain and range isn't like forgetting the quadratic equation...you still get an answer, it's just wrong.

    I don't mean to come across as combative and I really do value your input. I've heard enough horror stories from those in my family to know that there's a fine line between productive assertion and bullying. I'm doing my best to stay on the right side of that line and your input is helping me.

    Thanks
     
  25. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Oct 11, 2014

    What's the reason for this policy? Are you allowed to return it and then collect it again?
     

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