Nutana Collegiate Institute,
Are you looking for an alternative assessment strategy that you can mix in with what you are already using, which 1) won’t take a major time commitment to set up, and 2) will not be too radically different from what you think evaluation should be? Try a partner quiz!
A partner quiz can be set up in a number of ways, and if interested, you can find some adaptations in the publication "Algebra 1 - Alternative Assessment" from D.C. Heath, which is where I found the idea.
Each student is given a copy of the quiz of your choice, and is then given a suitable amount of time to complete it. At this point the students are paired with a partner, which you may see fit to assign in advance. (I did). The partners then get to compare their solutions and "quiz" each other as to whose answers are correct and how they arrived at them.
A third copy of the quiz is then given to the partners which they fill out with what they think are the best solutions that they, as a team, can come up with. Only the third copy is handed in to be evaluated, and both partners will receive the same mark.
This type of assessment has some of the advantages of group work without having the major time commitment that group works takes. The students are in a situation where communication skills are essential, and I found the students were quite motivated to come up with a good master copy, and their discussions were serious and analytical.
The advantages of the partner quiz are many. Students are presented with a fresh style of assessment, which forces them to use their communication skills, something that is often missing in a Math evaluation. You as a teacher get to add another valuable tool to your repetoire. Students think of it as a bonus that they actually get to have help with a test, and finally, you have half as many quizzes to mark that night!
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