There were several things I didn’t like about grading...I didn’t like agonizing about the exact number of points to give, grading homework felt more summative than formative to me and I wasn’t sure if students learned from my written comments. I was also confused about the fact that a “B” could look many different ways. Then I read the book “Specifications Grading” by Linda B. Nilson. While this book doesn’t focus on mathematics it gave me lots of ideas and the goal to change what I am doing...
My goal for this blog post is for you to get a sense of my philosophy and approach to one of the most enjoyable courses I teach; as well as to highlight how an IBL (inquiry-based learning) approach to the course is fundamental for the learning goals that I and my institution have for the course. You can download some of my explorations.
I have seen in the classroom how students’ conceptual understanding grows out of getting lost, feeling confused and making mistakes. Yet at the end, I still tend to “tell” students to not make mistakes anymore or at least not to repeat mistakes. How? By assessing their learning with presentations, tests, written homework, and final exams using rubrics that give the highest score to the work that has no mistakes... So how can I avoid sending mixed messages and create better rubrics and assessments?
Changing the mindset of our students, helping them understand how our brains work, how we actually learn is incredibly important for any mathematics class, from Kindergarten through graduate school. Since there is a lot of wonderful material, including blogs and videos, already published about this topic, I will use this blog to just present some of the main resources.
In this blog, Brian Katz is connecting beautifully the issues of equity and teaching using inquiry. He also promotes a special edition of PRIMUS which focuses specifically on inquiry-based teaching and learning.