Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Using SBG in AP Stat

Last year I implemented SBG in Algebra 2 and loved it. However, I just could not wrap my head around how to implement it in AP Stat, so I spent a lot of time this past year thinking on how I could make it work. This is more of a mind-dump of ideas than a complete plan - a way of getting my thoughts down on paper and put it out there so that I can analyze it further.

This Past Year
For SY 2010-11, grading in AP was pretty traditional for me. I had three categories in my gradebook - Tests/Quizzes (65%), Assignments (20%), and Final Exam (15%). The Assignments Category contained pretty everything that wasn't a test or quiz. This included weekly AP MC practice, POWs (Problem of the Week AP problems), worksheets, labs, etc.

Tests and Quizzes
I already set up my Learning Targets (LTs) and provided them on my assignment sheets for each unit over this past year. (See Unit 3 HERE). I think each LT Quiz will cover 2-3 LTs. Where I struggle here is how to set up the LT Quiz. In Alg2, each LT has 3 problems (basic, average, and advanced levels), and I don't know how well that will work out with AP. I'm thinking maybe a MC question and then two FR questions. Of course, the layout will be different than the current Alg2 layout, allowing a question stem to be used for multiple LTs. I would still use a 4 point scale for each LT, like I do in Alg2. I think Unit Tests would pretty much stay the same as they are currently are, with a MC and a FR section, with the grade being a traditional test grade. This would allow the quizzes to be more skills based and assessed, whereas the tests would be more summative.

Remediation and Reassessment
This past year, students could retake a different form of a quiz *if* they provided proof of remediation, which was the practice problems on the assignment sheet for that chapter. They could also make test corrections if they did at least one problem from each objective on the assignment sheet. For the most part, I liked this plan. This next year, it would roughly stay the same, but to reassess a Learning Target, they would have to work the problems specific to that LT, rather than the entire chapter. For test corrections, they would still have to do at least one problem from each LT, PLUS have completed the Unit's Summary Sheets (see Unit 3 HERE)

Issues I need to figure out
  • What percentage breakdown do I want to use for Tests, LT Quizzes, Assignments, and Final Exam? The Final is district mandated to be at least 15%.
  • Actual AP questions often cover multiple topics. While I could edit them for the LT quizzes to only include the current objectives, I would like to have that cumulative element. This could be a reassessment opportunity, but with only one data point, how would I grade it on a rubric? Maybe those "mixed-bag" style questions should be on the summative tests, not the quizzes?
  • What to do about the Assignments category? I could leave a small percentage of the grade devoted to this category. In Alg2, their grade is purely assessments, and all of their assignments are non-graded, feedback only. I'm not sure I'm ready to go there in AP just yet. I do see value in the items placed in this category, but would not want them in either assessment category since a lot of it is lab investigations, partner work, etc. The other issue with this category is anything that isn't done in class has the potential to not be turned in on time, which leads us down that "late work" rabbit hole.
  • Should the tests be unit based (like they currently are), or time based (like every 6 weeks)? I like unit based tests because things seem so neatly packaged, but I worry that that last chapter being quizzed won't be graded/returned/processed/remediated/reassessed prior to the unit test date. I like the idea of every 6 weeks (covering LTs up to Chapter X), but worry it might feel awkward and not flow well, but theoretically would give that cumulative element needed in preparation for the AP exam in May.
  • One of my biggest issues is that I'm a pretty slow grader in AP. With Alg2, I almost always had their quizzes back to them the next day, sometimes it took two days, but rarely more than that. With AP, there is so much reading that you have to do that it really bogs down the process.
New idea for next year One thing I've done for several years is a weekly POW that is a previous AP problem. I take these up on Friday and provide feedback and an AP score. This has worked fairly well for years, with the exception of a few kids here or there not getting them turned in, etc. This year, however, I had one class that was the class from hell when it came to turning these in. Seriously, out of 20 kids, it was pretty common to have less than half of the class turn it in. This really pissed me off, especially since they were assigned on Tuesday, given 10 minutes to work with their partner to read, discuss, and sketch out a solution, then 3 days until it was due in final format. After some thought and an "a-ha" moment earlier this summer, I think I am going to do two things to hopefully fix this problem. First, I am going to do daily warmups that consist of parts of AP problems. I can give up a few minutes a day to have the kids write a solution to a part of an AP problem. Then, I will either provide the scoring guideline to the class for whole-class feedback or sometimes take them up for more individualized feedback. Second, on a regular basis (maybe once a month?), we will have an AP quiz with maybe 4 AP problems and they have to choose 3 to completely answer and I'll grade it using the rubrics. I'm not sure where these will fit in my grading scheme yet though :) Wrapping it up
I don't have the details all ironed out, but overall, I think this is a plan I can live with for a year while I refine it. I think this provides me the detail I want on the individual objectives while still maintaining the big picture/integrated structure needed in Statistics. Now that I've identified the big issues and concerns that I have, I think I will be able to work on strategies to fix those issues. As always, I appreciate any feedback and questions to help me guide my thinking.


T. Banks said...

With Test Grades will you allow them to retest or will they be allowed in any way to raise the test grade.

druin said...


Yes, they can do test corrections. They reread their answer, write a description of why their answer was wrong, give their new answer and the supporting justification.

Samuel Rushmore said...

Would you be willing to share your AP Stats learning targets with a new AP Stats teacher? Thanks.

druin said...


Feel free to contact me on twitter at @druinok and I'll do my best to help you :)

T. Banks said...

Just reading through your post again and wondering if you have answers to some of your questions, I had the same questions. I am doing SBG for my gen. Stats class but our district has to have Tests/Projects.

I was thinking should I give a test every unit or one every 4 weeks as well. I am leaning towards every unit but wanted here your thoughts.

Also, in lieu of no re-test and every test would be cumulative, what are your thoughts on every dropping the lowest test grade or making the test worth more each time given to allow and encourage them to remediate if need be i.e., test 1 = 50 and test 4 =125

druin said...


Here are the answers to the questions I posed in the post...

1) Grading: Tests/AP Quizzes = 40%, Learning Target Quizzes = 30%, Assignments/Labs = 15%, Final Exam = 15%

2) I did go ahead with an assignments/lab category just for any incidentals that occured :)

3) I went with tests every 6 weeks. The main motivation was that with unit based tests, I wasn't able to quiz the end-of-unit material prior to the test. The 6-weeks tests will give me more flexibility there.

With a cumulative testing scheme, I don't think I would drop the lowest because the lowest could be the last test. Good luck with whatever you decide!

Bru said...

I am interested in testing the waters of SBG for my AP Stats class. Would you be willing to share your learning targets with me?

druin said...


Sure - just send me an email - druin ok at gmail dot com (no spaces and such) and I'll send it to you.

Meme said...

I am having problems downloading the forms like the gradebook and the "My Weekly Planner". It keeps giving me an error message that the link is broken. I would love to include these in my teacher binder. Can you fix the link, please?