Saturday, May 28, 2022

Knowing vs Doing

I have been trying to figure out how they got the 1.2

That is the thing about math mistakes.  They usually aren't random.  There is a logic to them.

I deal with this in 2nd grade all the time.  We use interactive remotes which anonymously put student answers on the board.  We often see clumps of wrong answers.  This is because students are making the same kind of error.  The most common is "flipping".  A student who encounters 352 - 159 will often choose to subtract the 2 from the 9 rather than regroup (borrow) off the 10s.

What is interesting to me is how often students revert back to flipping.  Even once they understand why flipping is incorrect, it can sometimes take quite a while to fully break the habit.  It is not uncommon to find, on a test, that a student will correctly regroup half the problems... and then flip the rest.

Knowing something is true does not mean you will always execute that knowledge.  🙂

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

High Stakes Testing

A little thought about high stakes testing... especially for little kids -

I teach 2nd grade.  We are wrapping up state testing right now.  The work these students and I have done all year will come down to about 40 multiple-choice questions.

This is, of course, absurd.

Let me give one example.

I noted that one student of mine got a number of questions wrong on her math test today.

Distressingly for me, quite a few.  🙂

She will probably pull a "70ish" percent on this test.  The powers that be will wonder what was lacking in my instruction that caused her to score such.

Here is what they do not know about her.  She is actually one of my brightest students.  She is a leader.

But she processes out loud.

In class, she often gets to work in groups.  She talks through her thinking.  She often catches her mistakes when she is explaining her thinking to everyone else she is working with.  Her process becomes more clear to her as she bounces it off a classmate.

When testing, she gets none of that.  She sits quiet... clicking answers on a computer screen.  She is denied the engagement of her classmates.  Her initial inclinations, which would normally be processed in the group, are her only option.

In the real world, 15-20 years from now, she is going to shine like the sun!

But presently, our ranking system can only wonder at why she doesn't score higher on these tests.

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