Saturday, September 11, 2010

What a difference a day makes

A good night's sleep and a tall stack of calculus papers later, and I'm feeling a bit better.

This morning's chore was to respond to the 40 calculus papers which I'd merely glanced at last night. (Then I'd done a spot-check to see which ones would need the most ameliorative attention.)

They were, by and large, wonderful. Some of the students had a hard time explaining the importance of finding a horizontal tangent (there was occasional "cart-before-horsing," when students said something along the lines of "we need to find the point where the function is minimized because that's where the tangent is horizontal"), and there were some minor slips in notation (like when students reused the name of the function itself, C(x), for the slope of the tangent line), but all in all the papers were solid. I'm requesting that four of the students send me their papers electronically, so that I can post them on the website as models.

I'm happy.

What of the other 12? I've decided I'm simply not assigning a grade to them. I've written something along the lines of "please come and see me so I can help you hammer this out." Most of them will, I hope, and once they've worked up a more complete solution, I'll respond to it.

It's one step closer to portfolios. I'll get there soon.

1 comment:

sachauncey said...

Yesterday's post came to via a Google Alert I created "inquiry based learning". I felt I had to drop you a line to say that your post gives me hope! The fact that you did not grade the 12 students and chose to simply move them from where they are to where they should be is a gift. Today you did not destroy a child's self-efficacy, you spoke to the power of mastery learning, and you will be rewarded. By the way -- you are definitely a portfolio kind of person. All for now. S.