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ereks mom

Math tests -- do you give them open-book?

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EK (8th grade) gets flustered when I have her do a math chapter test (BJU Algebra 1). I've started letting her do them open-book. If she gets stuck, she can look back in the chapter for a reminder. Usually she doesn't need to look back, so the book is just a bit of a crutch for her. She is usually a decent math student (solid B average), but does not excel at math like her brother ER did. She has no plans to pursue a math-related career. So, will it be harmful to her in the long run to let her take open-book math tests -- at least through Algebra 1?

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Nope. But we tend to work through the chapter reviews till they are sure they understand the concepts. That seems to help them do well on the tests.

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But we tend to work through the chapter reviews till they are sure they understand the concepts. That seems to help them do well on the tests.

 

We do the same thing. No open book tests here. To me, giving a high school level child an open book math test kind of leads to grade inflation on their transcript. IOW, my dtr would prob. get a B+ or an A with the book open. But w/o the book open (and after a thorough chapter review/quiz review, etc.) her grade would be more like a C+ or B. So I want my dtr's transcript to accurately reflect a "standard" system to measure her grade.

 

I'm not criticizing, so I hope it doesn't come out that way. It is just that to me, in high school, an open book test should be a rare exception, not the standard. There could be exceptions for learning disabled children I suppose.

 

But, I have started this year grading my children's homework. Basically the homework gets a grade, weighted at 25% of the total chapter grade; the quizzes get a grade, weighted at 25% and the test grades are 50%. Each chapter gets a grade and then all those chapter grades are averaged for the final grade.

 

I tell my children, in this way, "your homework is like an open book test" (or at the very least a quiz). This is only a few months old policy here, but (praise the Lord) I see their homework improving and showing more effort.

 

HTH!

Lisaj

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When and how do you plan to transition away from open-book?

 

To be honest, I'd recommend a 'formula sheet' rather than completely open book, as it's much easier to transition away later/make the sheet smaller. Open-book exams are occasionally given in advanced settings, but tend to be utterly brutal compared to standard exams.

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When and how do you plan to transition away from open-book?

 

To be honest, I'd recommend a 'formula sheet' rather than completely open book, as it's much easier to transition away later/make the sheet smaller. Open-book exams are occasionally given in advanced settings, but tend to be utterly brutal compared to standard exams.

 

A 'formula sheet' is what my college algebra teacher allowed.

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But Foerster's tests are in the book, and they are hard. My son does better, I found, on tests that I write from the even-numbered problems, closed book.

 

Geometry tests are closed book, no notes. I require memorization.

 

My middle son is taking science at a local private school. They had a take-home test to do on the honor system. No open books or notes, but they were allowed to have a "lifeline" with one question on the test of their choosing. I thought that was cute. :) His science is heavily math-oriented, so there are a lot of formulas and graphing. He has to memorize and understand how to manipulate those formulas.

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My goodness, no. A test is exactly that - a test of what you have learned. Open-book makes it nothing more than yet another daily exercise.

 

Ria

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But she needs to be confident enough to use algebra in other classes and real life. If she's allowed open book tests, she may never develop that confidence. In high school I had a classmate that could do the math in chemistry perfectly, as long as I was approving every step of her math work. But on quizzes and tests she fell to pieces and received C's because she didn't have some else to approve each step.

 

IMHO, I think your dd needs to work more problems to develop that confidence.

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My goodness, no. A test is exactly that - a test of what you have learned. Open-book makes it nothing more than yet another daily exercise.

 

I agree.

 

If she needs the book for the tests, she doesn't "know it."

So why even give the test?

Just re-do the chapter

Or re-do a few days' assignments again

or re-do an entire week, same assignments next week.

Repeatedly.

Until she scores well on the daily work, first try.

 

Repeat the daily work until she can score 90% on all of it.

Then give the test

She will likely score a 90% on the test.

 

I would never give a test until I knew my student could score 90% on it.

I can tell this by his daily scores on the Math Assignments.

 

Daily Assignments are required to be 100%, eventually.

I mark the incorrect ones, he reworks them himself. Repeatedly until they are all 100%

Then he's done for the day.

If he misses a few or a bunch 2 or 3 days in a row, say Mon, Tues, Weds, then on Thurs Fri Sat . . .I'd just have him

Redo Monday's on Thursday,

Redo Tuesday's on Friday,

Redo Wednesday's on Saturday.

 

He should score at least a 90% the second time around.

But again, any missed problems, he re-does them himself repeatedly same day until he gets them correct.

 

If necessary, come next week Mon/Tues/Weds, he will re-work the same 3 Daily Assignments if he's still missing more than a few.

 

If he doesn't know it now, he's not going to know it on the test. :)

 

So we work to mastery (for lack of a better word) when he finally knows it well, works the problems correctly, then he gets The Test.

But by then I already know he can score a 90% on the test, so The Test (testing) becomes inconsequential at that point.

 

In fact, you can omit the tests altogether if you work to "mastery" this method throughout the book.

Save those 6 weeks of school days and omit the tests altogether.

Use those 30 would-be-test-days to re-work the troublesome assignments in the first place.

 

:seeya:

:

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Open-book makes it nothing more than yet another daily exercise.

 

Which is okay if you just want another Daily Exercise though.

 

It kind of depends on what your goals are.

 

If your student isn't going to get much more math in the future, I would think it more important to work for math mastery now though. This is her only chance for math (homeschool) so I would think she needs more homeschool math and more mastery, not less.

 

 

:seeya:

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With the time limit set by Saxon Alg II of 50 min, my ds was just barely finishing the tests on time. I don't think he would have time to page through and find information.

 

I agree with the posts that say you should go over the material until the student knows it. You don't want your child to be needing the math book to solve math problems trying to do calculations in the food store for example or with more complex math in science classes. From my experience, Algebra I is still pretty basic information that should come easily, but I could be wrong.

 

Maybe the reality is that you need to spend more time on math. If your child was in school maybe your student would have needed tutoring, resulting in more time on math anyway, so don't think of it as lost time.:001_smile:

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I did BJU w/my oldest for Algebra, and I let her do the chapter reviews open book. The test would be the very next day, so it was still in her head (we did the tests closed-book).

 

If she didn't do well on the chapter review, we'd go back and review some more until she had it down pat. Then we'd do the test. Sometimes this added days, but that's how we did it. We also went back over every problem she missed in every lesson together (and the reviews and tests). It took f-o-r-e-v-e-r, but I just didn't see how she'd ever get it if we didn't go over her mistakes. (This one needed a lot of repetition). If you're copying your tests, you can always pull one out from a few chapters back and give it to her, just for extra practice.

 

Are you doing the cumulative review and all that in the TM? And the unit tests? I think BJU has plenty of review, if you use it all. Sometimes I felt like they didn't really have enough practice problems, though. Did you know they also sell review workbooks, even for algebra? One of those might be helpful.

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They were some of the hardest tests I ever took. The open book didn't help much, because it wasn't like just memorizing a formula. The problems were word problems that required deep understanding of the process; it wasn't like a student could skim through the chapter and expect to make an A on the test.

 

Those tests in college were timed, though, and that makes a difference. An open-book test that can take 5 hours is one thing, but an open-book test that measures concepts is different.

 

I'd rather NOT have an open book test, if I got to choose.

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I earned double B.S. degrees in math and computer science ages ago, and my college had a policy of not allowing any open book or "bring an index card with your formulae" for freshman or sophmore-level courses. That was true even for the technical writing and engineering management students who took less math than the rest of us. Later on I really appreciated this because I truly knew my math and science basics.

 

By my senior year and most of graduate school, the exams were all take-home ones with long problems and proofs, and open book or not, they were extremely difficult.

 

I'll note too that the college classes that I teach now are full of students who are fretting over math that they thought they'd never need when they were teens.

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