Algebra 2 Quiz • Stephanie Reilly


Our first assessment submission comes from Stephanie Reilly (@reilly1041, in the form of an Algebra 2 quiz on exponents and adding polynomials. Links for the assessment and commentary are below. Questions to consider:

  • What do you like?
  • How would you make it better?
  • What questions do you have for Stephanie?

Submission Type

“Share an assessment you don’t hate…”


Author’s Commentary

Bonus Request

Since this is the first assessment submission post, please let me know in the comments, via Twitter (@mjfenton), or via email (mjfenton at gmail dot com) if you have any suggestions for how better to facilitate this assessment conversation.

Coming Soon

Next in line: A Precalculus Honors test from Jim Doherty.


Another Way To Play

Create an assessment you don’t hate…

According to this, that’s Step 1 in the Better Assessments rulebook. But I wonder if we’re cutting out half of the assessment conversation by making the first step the submission of something awesome. I don’t know if I have anything I’d be comfortable sharing right now if that’s the requirement.

So how about this as a second way to play along…

Share an assessment you do hate.

Have you been giving an absolutely terrible assessment in Algebra 1 (or some other class) for years? Is it time to make something better, but you’re not quite sure how? Throw your assessment in the ring and we’ll do our best to help you make it better.

And while we’re at it…

Why not have a third point of entry, a sort of combination of the first two. If you’re already revamped a sub-par assessment and ended up with something notably better, share them both, along with some commentary on the transformation. Think of it as the math assessment equivalent of those annoying P90X before and after infomercials.

However you want to play…

Whether you have something great to share, something terrible to work on, or a before and after comparison, if you’re interested in contributing, go for it!

How To Play the Better Assessments Game


If you haven’t read this, this, and this, then stop. Go. Read.

Bored and uninspired? Go play Olo. (Seriously. It’s awesome.)

Fired up and ready to play? Read on!

What To Expect

Every so often (hopefully about once a week), I’ll post an assessment. Usually it won’t be my own (though sometimes it will). The assessment will come with some commentary, so the author can set the context, explain the rationale behind some of the choices made, and ask for specific feedback from anyone playing along at home.

If all goes according to plan, a conversation will ensue in the comments, with questions asked and answers given, feedback provided and (if the author chooses) adjustments made. If the author is sufficiently inspired, a tweaked version of the assessment might even be posted to keep the conversation rolling.

What We Need

If this experiment is going to work, we need (at the very least) the following:

If you see yourself as a contributor in either of those categories, then welcome! And thanks in advance for helping me (and hopefully many others) ninja-fy their assessment skills.

One More Thing

Oh, and it wouldn’t hurt if everyone who thinks this is a worthy undertaking would provide an occasional Better Assessments shout-out. (My voice only carries so far in the MTBoS.)

An Overdue Beginning

I’ve been putting this off for far too long.

In late March, I wrote Tasks and Assessments and A Further Call To Arms (over on Reason and Wonder). My goal with these posts was to stir up a small community of people who would write, share, and reflect on their assessments, on an ongoing basis, and through that process learn to write better assessments (and through that, become better teachers).

Well, in April I sort of launched the project. But not really. What I did was ask for the first submissions. Submissions were submitted, but I never did anything with them. I blame end-of-the-school-year burnout. But now it’s summer (for me, at least), so I can’t use that excuse anymore. And when I’m out of excuses… it’s time to do what I said I would do.

So here goes.

As soon as I hit “Publish” on this apologetic and uninspiring post, I’ll fire up another “New Post” and lay down the rules for this getting-better-at-writing-assessments game.

As soon as that’s zapped across the Internet, I’ll kickstart yet another “New Post” and offer up our first submission/specimen.