I had my first student re-takes this week.
First off, confession: I feel like I’m doing this SBG thing a little half-assed. I’m not making up new assessments, I didn’t give a spiel to all of my students about it in the first week of school (or the second, or the third…), and I haven’t really been as explicit as I would like to be regarding how and when retakes will be available. There are various reasons *cough*excuses*cough* that I have for all of this, which mainly center around the fact that I’m trying to navigate my way through a new school while I’m doing this.
But anyways, back to the newsroom. We had a quiz about right triangle trig in my Math 3 class on Monday. Three questions, asking to find side lengths and angle measure using the appropriate trig ratio. Most students totally aced it. I had 2 students who missed the problem about finding angle measure–who both just flipped the ratio upside down, 1 student who missed two problems, and 1 who missed all three. I was pretty ecstatic about this, since they took a “practice quiz” on Friday and, ah, didn’t do so well. On Tuesday, when I passed back the quiz, I told my class that anyone who got a 3 or less on either of the two skills needed to come by in tutorial to 1) have a conversation with me and then 2) to show me that they knew how to do the skill now.
So that very day Joe comes to my office. He sits down and tells me that he knows how to find the angle, but that he’d just made an error in writing down the ratio. I know this to be the case, so I pull out a piece of scratch paper and make up a problem on the fly and hand it to him. He spends a few minutes working, gives it back to me and I look it over. Wrong answer. I explain to Joe what he did wrong and show him how to correctly solve for the angle measure.
Joe: “Can I take it again?”
Me: “Not today. You can come back tomorrow though.”
Joe: “Why not?”
Me: “Because I want to make sure you actually know it, not just that you have it for this one second.”
Flash forward to Wednesday afternoon: The Return of Joe. New problem. Joe works. He gets it right…and then says to me:
“Y’know, it was interesting. Yesterday, I thought I knew it. But I didn’t.”
And then the Hallelujah chorus started playing in my head.