The second assessment in the spotlight is a Precalculus Honors test on conic sections and parametric equations from Jim Doherty (a.k.a. mrdardy). Questions to consider:
- What do you like (and why)?
- What would you do differently (and why)?
- What questions do you have for Jim?
“Share an assessment you don’t hate…”
“Here is a link to my most recent Precalc Honors test. We just finished our long slog through trig and have emerged on the other end with a conics/parametric unit. I stole some ideas from Sam Shah in class and we kept referring back to polars but I chickened out about including them on this test. I’d love to hear any opinions/questions/advice here!”
may follow soon is included below.)
Additional Author’s Commentary
“I have long used this structure for tests in this course where there are some quick fact/skill questions at the beginning worth 5 points each while there are longer, multi-step questions worth 10 points each. Based on some reading I’ve done lately (especially from the mathymcmasterson blog) I am thinking of inverting this model so that the majority of points earned are at the skill/recall level while the multi-step problems take a smaller portion of the points on the test. I’m interested in feedback on this balance.
Our text has the conics unit after a long trig unit. My students know that all of my tests are cumulative in nature with some general ground rules in place about what might appear. The central focus will be on the most recent material discussed with one or two questions directly representing material from the most recent test. Often, these will be questions that caused some problems and were the focus of our post-test briefing when I return papers. For some reason this year we had repeated questions about circles and it became a bit of a running gag during the year. I was happy about tying together questions 2, 3, and 8 but on reflecting about this, I’d make them closer to each other in the formatting. I try to write questions like #7 as often as possible. I think it gives me some insight into the kids ability to process some of this algorithmic information in a non-standard way. I started including the editorial note about multiple solutions in reaction to NUMEROUS questions along those lines. I kind of wish I had not done that. For questions 10 I fully expected students to simply solve for t in terms of y and then come up with a non-function parabola. A number of them solve for t in terms of x then had a function square root curve as their answer. Both approaches earned credit with clear support. I typically make the last problem a bit of a giveaway when I am concerned with time. We had a 40 minute class that day and I was worried about time on this one, but the kids did just fine as far as time was concerned. Looking back, I wish it was less driven by straightforward algebraic manipulation of the con is material, but I know I had seen some struggles with the types of word problems where the kids are given clues about a conic and they are to find its equation.
By this point of the year, my class was starting to really stretch out along the grade continuum with scores on this assessment ranging from 50 to 98 in a 10 student class. The mean was 83 with a median of 87.”
A sweet-looking Precalculus quiz on the Law of Sines and the Law of Cosines from Luke Hodge.