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AOPS Prealgebra - testing


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#1 NormaElle

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Posted 17 January 2018 - 07:43 PM

Since AOPS doesn't include formal tests, I'm unsure how to test my child at the end of each chapter. What have you done? My concern is that she can see the correct methods when we go over mistakes, but I would like something more formal than sort of winging it. I have this fear that she will finish the book and I will discover that she has a kind of sort of handle on prealgebra - and then what?

For chapter 2, I said we would use the review at the end of the chapter as a test. She got a 56%.

I feel confident that this is a great program for her, but obviously a 56 is not reflecting that. Thoughts on how to better use this curriculum?

Thanks!!

#2 wendyroo

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Posted 17 January 2018 - 08:28 PM

We use Alcumus as a test of skills.

 

DS works through the chapter one section at a time.  For each section he does the problems, we review the solutions, he watches the videos and then he does the exercises.  (This may or may not all get done in one day depending on the length of the section).  As soon as he is done with the exercises, I check them and tell him which are incorrect; he reworks those and I then help with any stumpers.

 

At the end of the chapter, DS works through the review problems at the end of the chapter.  Again, I check them and tell him which are incorrect; he reworks them and I then help with any stumpers.

 

Once he is done with those, then completely independently he tries to solve the Alcumus problems from the chapter.  This lets him review all the concepts one more time and lets me see how he can handle the problems on his own.  I have a teacher account on Alcumus, and DS is in my "class", so I can just log in and see exactly how he did on problems from each section.  I can even see the actual problems that he missed so that I can review them with him. 

 

After that, DS and I both feel like experts on the chapter topic, and we work through the challenge problems together.  That, of course, cures us of feeling like experts.   :lol:

 

Wendy



#3 SJ.

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Posted 17 January 2018 - 08:32 PM

Wendy, that is very thorough! How long do you anticipate to spend in the prealgebra book? One school year? About how many minutes a day are spent on math? Do you consider your son to be exceptional at math or..?

#4 wendyroo

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Posted 17 January 2018 - 09:53 PM

Wendy, that is very thorough! How long do you anticipate to spend in the prealgebra book? One school year?

 

Well, ours is kind of an unusual situation; DS is only 8, so I am in absolutely no hurry, and DS is hindered by his lack of maturity and weak handwriting stamina.

 

He started the book in the middle of November and just recently finished Chapter 3, so he is covering about a chapter a month.  OTOH, I've heard chapter 2 is one of the hardest, and many of the later chapters look pretty short.  I don't know; we school year round, and I kind of expect that DS will finish this book by the end of this calendar year.

 

About how many minutes a day are spent on math?

 

DS spends about 30 minutes a day on AOPS (he also spends ~15 minutes at a different time of day on Hands on Equations).  He does math 7 days a week; his autism and ADD make it better for him to do a short lesson every day rather than longer ones on week days.

 

Do you consider your son to be exceptional at math or..?

 

Yes.


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#5 Targhee

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 11:26 PM

We didn't test. We did make sure Alcumus got to the blue.

#6 TracyP

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Posted 20 January 2018 - 11:03 AM

I have never tested or used Alcumus with my kids, so I can't offer advice there. However, you might be interested in this thread if you haven't seen it yet. My takeaway was that Richard Rusczyk would consider a 70% to be mastery of the material when using AoPS - and that is after giving students a 2nd try on missed problems. Considering that Chapter 2 is often considered the hardest chapter in Prealgebra, a 56% isn't a horrible score.

 

 



#7 NormaElle

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Posted 20 January 2018 - 08:26 PM

Thank you! That's very helpful.

#8 poetic license

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Posted 01 February 2018 - 03:33 PM

My kids attend the on-site AOPS Academy, and they consider 70% on their exams to be very good. That said, their exams are a bit harder than the review problems in the text, but not as hard as the challenge problems. When I test at home outside of class, I assign some of the review and some of the challenge problems. I think I'll add Alcumus as my kids haven't been testing very well at the Academy. 



#9 TheAttachedMama

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Posted 05 February 2018 - 01:29 PM

I have never tested or used Alcumus with my kids, so I can't offer advice there. However, you might be interested in this thread if you haven't seen it yet. My takeaway was that Richard Rusczyk would consider a 70% to be mastery of the material when using AoPS - and that is after giving students a 2nd try on missed problems. Considering that Chapter 2 is often considered the hardest chapter in Prealgebra, a 56% isn't a horrible score.

Thank you for posting this!   Does anyone know if we can still download this talk?  I am super curious to listen to it now.


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#10 SeaConquest

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 10:46 PM

My kids attend the on-site AOPS Academy, and they consider 70% on their exams to be very good. That said, their exams are a bit harder than the review problems in the text, but not as hard as the challenge problems. When I test at home outside of class, I assign some of the review and some of the challenge problems. I think I'll add Alcumus as my kids haven't been testing very well at the Academy.


You're not alone. Mine is at the academy in San Diego, and despite turning the homework blue or green, he has gotten orange on both exams.

#11 Roadrunner

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 10:54 PM

You're not alone. Mine is at the academy in San Diego, and despite turning the homework blue or green, he has gotten orange on both exams.


Do you know if blue correlates to A, green to B and orange to C?

They use the colors in online courses as well and while I know blues will earn you an A, i always wondered what a kid would get for majority green or majority orange bars. (I know your child only got an orange in the exam, but I am wondering if aops teachers discussed this on site).

#12 poetic license

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 11:03 PM

Do you know if blue correlates to A, green to B and orange to C?

They use the colors in online courses as well and while I know blues will earn you an A, i always wondered what a kid would get for majority green or majority orange bars. (I know your child only got an orange in the exam, but I am wondering if aops teachers discussed this on site).

 

That's an interesting question. I'll ask our site director, but even when I tried to get a percentage grade from him on my son's last exam, he had to really hunt it down and stuck more to the color scheme, saying that they didn't really get hung up on the exact percentages. 

 

Given that their 70% is considered a good score, I don't even know how that would even translate into letter grades.


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#13 SanDiegoMom in VA

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 11:04 AM

I just asked for a transcript for my son's Intro to Algebra B class. In the information sheet on transcripts it states that Green is A. I was surprised, as my son has been working towards all blue for everything - but I'm not having him change for this next class. He doesn't always get in the blue for every component, but each week has been overall blue. 

 

Here is from their page: https://artofproblem...entation#grades

 

Translating Progress into Letter Grades

 

At the end of a course, we can provide a grade for any student who has completed a subject or computer science course, upon request. If you have any question about grades or you would like to request a grade for a class, please contact us at [email protected]. We only provide student grades on request.

Below are some notes on our grading philosophy and standards, as well as answers to a few common questions.

Our Take on Grades

Grades: we don't like them. In our online courses, we assess our students constantly. As they move through their homework, they are told how well they are doing by a series of colorful bars that track their progress. We use all of these micro-level assessments to motivate the students and encourage them to keep working and to get better. The trouble comes when we generate data that's designed to motivate and guide students' actions, and then try to reuse it to evaluate students. A student's grade needs to be a message of how well the student understands the subject and the student's performance in the class. This is a related, but different, problem.

Grades: we love them. A grade is a key. It tries to quickly provide information to a person or institution about a student's level of understanding of the material contained within a course. Students who belong at AoPS don't typically belong elsewhere. We understand that students often need grades from us in order continue studying with us, so grades are a byproduct of the privilege of working with such amazing students.

The short version is that we will gladly give students grades, but instructors will assign grades holistically. That is, grades will only partly be based on what students see on their Report Tab—most of the information there is generated automatically. The numbers are a good place to start, but our instructors look closely at what a student's done in class beyond just numerical data. Has the student shown growth through the course? If the student did poorly in a couple of weeks was it a comprehension issue or a time issue? Did the student incorporate homework feedback? Assigning grades goes deeper than adding a handful of numbers.

"Getting an A"

Students are told that their progress bars will turn green when the system has evaulated that they've done enough work to "pass" that particular component of the week's work.

As a result, there is only one promise that we will make: if every bar on a student's report is green or blue, then we will always give that student an A. This rule is simple: Green is where we tell the students that they're done and they can move on, and it would be unfair not to reward students for reaching that point. This is the baseline we start with when we're assigning grades.

This does not mean that a student who has a few non-green or blue bars cannot receive an A. Aside from the above, we will not commit to a particular grade without fully assessing the student's progress.

Another note: we don't look very hard at the overall bars when assigning grades, so a student shouldn't think too hard about what they mean in terms of final grades. The weights we put on the individual scores are meaningful and send students the message we want them to get, but when assigning final grades, we've found they don't tell a very complete story.

A grade of Incomplete

There are two general cases in which we assign grades of Incomplete. If a student does not finish enough work in the class, especially toward the end of the class, we may not be able to assign a grade. Alternatively, if a student does not solve enough of the writing problems in a class, we may not be able to assign a grade.


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#14 Roadrunner

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 03:35 PM

SanDiegoMom, thank you!!!
I won’t tell my kid that green is A 🤭 but I am glad it is since all those grades are going on our transcript as is.
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#15 SeaConquest

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 06:22 PM

We won't be asking for overall grades, as they are not necessary for us at present. But, yes, his teacher said that an orange on the exam corresponded to a C on the exam. I have no idea what his overall grade in the class would be, given that all homework is blue and green. I think he has some test anxiety because I have seen him underperform on several tests now (aside from just in AoPS). Even when he was younger, he never wanted play with any math apps that had a timer, but would happily play for hours with apps that didn't. So, there is definitely some underlying anxiety coming into play when he knows there is a time pressure.