Welcome Back!

Two posts and this is officially a series, right? Off we go!

Algebra 1 Assessment, Before

Let’s spend a little more time (how about 60 seconds?) looking at the second half of that old, filthy Topic 1 assessment:

That’s it. One measly simplification question. Nothing inherently wrong about the question itself, but…

Algebra 1 Assessment, After

With the updated Topic 1 assessment, I wanted to address to potential weaknesses to the approach I took on the original. First, I felt like one question wasn’t enough to get a sense of student mastery of distribution. For students who have mastered this, each question takes between 5 and 20 seconds, so time wasn’t an issue. With that in mind, I added two more “standard” distribution questions and scaled their difficulty:

(If the “compact form” comment doesn’t make sense and you wish it did—rare combination, possibly—let me know in the comments.)

Next, I wanted to add a question that required students to think outside the box, even if just a little, and at the same time would provide them with an opportunity to explain their thinking. It’s not terribly profound, but since we didn’t even hint at factoring during the lessons leading up to this assessment, I think this rather bland factoring problem, when appearing in this context, actually demands some critical thinking on the students’ part. Enough yammering, here’s the question:

Wrap Up

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Outrage? Share any and all in the comments!

(Bonus Material: Confession)

The “original” revamped version of the Topic 1 assessment only included 7 questions. I added #8 just to spice up the blog post.  Actually, in thinking about writing the post, I had an idea for how to—potentially—make this assessment even less terrible for next year. So it’s sort of a lie, and sort of not, with an emphasis on the latter, at least in/from the future. Errrr… Time travel. Brain hurts. 12:12 am. Time for bed.