Tag Archives: significant figures

Tiered Assessment in Chemistry

So for the fourth and final week of the New Math Blogger Initiation, our wonderful pro bloggers suggested that we read another teacher blogger’s blog and comment on it, and subsequently blog a response.  I was actually thinking of suggesting this in the comments because it does the very thing that the blogger initiation is intended to do: build an online community by getting teachers reading others blogs and commenting on those blogs while reflecting on what they read and what they teach.  So wohoo, go blogging initiation team!

I’m actually ‘cheating’ a little bit because I didn’t comment on this particular blog post this week (it was perhaps a few weeks ago) and furthermore, I’ve already blogged about the blog post before here, but I really like this idea and think that I should have been doing this all along, so I’m going to blog about it again.  I think I improved upon my first attempt to imitate what Steve and his colleague did.  It also helped knowing I was going to put this Chemistry quiz up in front of a bunch of other teachers, so I think it helped me focus extra-well on making the questions very specific.

Although this is a Chemistry quiz, it’s on significant figures and scientific notation, the latter of which we teach in math, as well, so feel free to take the quiz and use it or modify it!

A list of things I changed or thought about since last time:

  1. I actually made another quiz last week based on the tiered assessment idea, but I made the mistake of covering different topics as I increased in difficulty.  The result was students getting “B” right but not “C”, so now I made sure to make two side-by-side quizzes, so they’ll actually receive two different grades.  Students should also get the easier problems correct before they get more difficult problems correct.
  2. I forgot that our school doesn’t actually give out D’s (oops), so I had to change the “A, B, C, D” to numbers out of 100.  This keeps it relatively easy for grading–if they got one of the two correct, then I give them 5 points.
  3. I focused especially on trying to move up Bloom’s taxonomy.  I still struggled with the “A” question, partly because it’s a written response and that means I have to read responses, but also because it isn’t so much creating.  I guess there’s only so much creating one can do with significant figures and scientific notation…

One thing I’m worried about is that I made this quiz too long.  I hate quizzes that take up a whole class period, and some students will take up the whole period if they’re allowed to.  I also have trouble setting a time limit because I still have a hard time guessing how long it should take students to finish an assessment of any given size.

And since we get bonus points for embedding a video, here’s one reason it’s fun to be a Chemistry teacher (yes, I celebrate Pi day in my math classes even though I don’t teach Geometry…)

Disclaimer: No, those are not my students and no, I did not help in the development of the movie in any way, but yes, I did show this to my students on October 23rd last year!

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