Thursday, October 27, 2011

Post-Game Analysis, Part 1

I've been following John Burk's and Frank Noschese's ideas about "post-game analysis" (that's what you do after an assessment).  Too often, we just move on like nothing happened, and so the students do as well.  Unfortunately, asking "are there any questions?" and doing a few solutions on the board yourself has several problems: you're probably only addressing a small proportion of the kids at any given time (so they tune out), you're doing the work, while they're passively receiving (that didn't work for them the first time!), and it can take forever.

It also happens on the next class day, which can be as much as three days away, with our every-other-day schedule here.

There are also the traditional problems about feedback from me - many don't read it (hopefully fewer than before I started really talking about mindset and normalizing mistakes often), it takes a long time for me to write, and I might end up writing less than I'd like because of the time demand and effort required.

Here's a big one: my feedback, even if it's as long and detailed as I'd write in the ideal world where I have only one student (and 15 free periods and a boat), is based on what I think your issues are, based on what you wrote, which may not bear much relation to what you're actually thinking!  After three days, do you even remember what you were thinking?

I gave the immediate post-game feedback a try this week, on our first assessment for graphical models of constant-acceleration motion.  It was basic stuff - using slopes and areas to go from one type of motion graph to another, but there are lots of little places to not have it go quite right.  The kids did well overall, but most people had one or more little issues with the execution.

After they finished the assessment, they went to one of the three keys that I had made (these took a little while, because I was super-explicit about every piece of physics and logic) and used a green colored pencil to write down what they were trying to do and what they should've been doing for any places that they had mistakes (well, that was the goal - most did pretty well!).  Only they know what's going on in their heads, and they won't remember later, so this seems like a great opportunity to capitalize on their attention and motivation, and to let them write comments that are the most helpful to themselves, instead of me guessing what they were thinking/what they need to hear.

Here are a couple of terrific examples of post-game work from a student.  Notice how I don't really have much to say, because she has done all of her own 'fixing'!

I'm going to ask them today to give me some feedback on how well this worked for them.  I'm thinking that I'll do this with the first assessment or two for each standard, as a way to get their early mistakes and misconceptions dealt with more quickly.

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