# Assessment FOR Learning

My Algebra students have been solving multi-step equations for a few days, and I knew it was time to assess.  I designed some interactive paper “foldables” to organize student work for each problem type, as well as model my expectations for their work during lessons.  I knew I wanted the assessment to be a paper-pencil task, yet I wanted to include the iPads in the process.  Thus I invented the QR-Code-Learning-Stations-With-a-Partner-and-Foldables-Assessment.  Kinda rolls off the tongue, eh?

So maybe the name isn’t catchy (back to the drawing board on that one) but I will say one thing – the strategy caught right on!  I posted six “stations” around the classroom, labeling them (A) through (F) and included a QR code that linked to a specific problem type we had solved together, as well as a paper template for student work.  Each student had to submit his or her own work, and could choose to work alone or with one “learning partner”.  As long as students solved every problem by the end of the period, they could work in any order, and work at their desks, in the hall, on the floor – whatever they preferred.  Students nearly bolted out of their seats to get to a code and scan it!  Immediately I heard comments such as:

“This is fun!”

“I think we should take more quizzes like this!”

“This is SO MUCH BETTER than having to just sit in a desk!”  (What’s funny is, students walked to a “station” and scanned the QR code, which took maybe 20 seconds, and then sat for 5 minutes or so, solving the problems, only to stand up and move for maybe 20 seconds more to scan the next code… amazing what just a little kinesthetic flavor can do to refresh a student!)

If you haven’t caught on by now, I think communication in the mathematics classroom is kind of a big deal.  I love listening to “learning partners” talk through the steps to solve the equations, and even argue!  The best sound is the, “A-ha!” that occurs when both students come to a consensus.  Love that.

Were the usual careless mistakes present on this assessment?  Yes, folks left negatives by the wayside halfway through the problem, or forgot to distribute a time or two, but overall, grades were good.  Even better, students told me they felt they had learned.

Assessment FOR learning – you and I both know this assessment won’t be the last time these students solve multi-step equations.  Yet, this format for assessment motivated and de-stressed my students while encouraging communication and accountability.  I feel the foundation has been set for the rest of this year, and that mastery is achievable!

I think I shall use this format again!  🙂

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### 3 Responses to Assessment FOR Learning

1. Regina says:

Hi,
I like this idea and would like to know how you linked the QR code to the problem. Did you put the problems up on a website? I was thinking I use this idea for a quiz but have all students work with a learning partner. Then at the end I would choose one person’s work to grade and it would count for both students. This way both students have to make sure they do the work on their own papers. I’m hoping it’ll keep both students accountable.

Thanks for the idea!
Regina

• Cathy Yenca says:

Hi Regina,

First, I posted the PDF files on a website. Then I copied the link to each specific file into a QR-code generator online (Unitaglive.com is a nice one). I hope this helps!

• Cathy Yenca says:

P.S. I also like your idea about grading! I do something similar with my “write-arounds” – grade only one paper per group, but the group members don’t know which one ahead of time. The difference is, every student has actually contributed to the paper I grade, versus the work being from only one student. Check it out – another fun strategy for solving equations:

http://www.mathycathy.com/blog/2012/11/revamping-a-writing-strategy-for-math/

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