Friday, February 21, 2014

How will you make 100?

I heard a math professor share this assessment approach today and wanted to pass it along. The assessment is a take-home test made up of 60 or more questions. Some of the questions are worth five points - fairly simple straightforward items. Then there are the fifty pointers that are open-ended monsters. And all sorts of problems in-between worth points corresponding to their difficulty. 

100 Sculpture
Students have two weeks to complete the test. They can pick to submit any combination of problems that add up to 100 points. One might think that the students would select the easier problems, but the professor has found that given the choice (and the time) the students pick challenging problems. The mere choosing of items provides assessment information to the professor.

I love this idea and want to try it in my classes next semester - maybe  in concert with standards-based grading. Alternative assessment approaches are always of interest to me. And throw in the element of choice - I'm sold.

Has anyone else heard of or tried this assessment approach. I would love to know your thoughts or experiences. Thank you in advance for your participation.


  1. I was reading this and wondering whether more learning would occur if you made it a 200 point partner or 300(?) point team test—in this way, the struggling students might learn from their team mates how to answer more of the challenging questions, rather than those struggling students attempting only the “easy” questions on an individual 100 point test. But I guess it depends to an extent on whether you’re teaching a high performing differential calculus course or a freshman remedial math course, or some other ability mix.

    Glenn Laniewski
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    Math teachers, start baking your Pi Day pies early

  2. Love the idea of giving students more time, and more options. I have one major reservation though. Given I teach high school, and currently mostly the lower grades (9-10), I worry about solutions not being the student's unaided work. How does one address the issue of giving a student a grade on material they cannot be relatively certain was entirely the student's work?