Today I gave my algebra students 30 minutes to work on POW 4 - On Your Own. This is a great POW that makes the students create do some research on the types of jobs they could get right out of high school. It also has them to find out how much living expenses would be and create a budget for living on their own. They also have to decide whether or not they will need a roommate in order to pay their bills. This is a research POW instead of a math or logic problem.
I gave the students a quiz on writing the equation given 2 points. One of the points was negative and one was positive. For this first quiz both slopes were integers. Out of 50 students who took the quiz 16 students aced it. another 3 students made between a 35 and a 39. 14 students made between a 24 and a 24 (a 24 is passing with a 60%). 17 made less than a 24. There were only 5 students who were absolutely clueless. So...67 % of my students passed the quiz. Now I have always said that having making a 60 in algebra does NOT mean that you are proficient. However, 38% of my students did extremely well on the quiz after working on this for 2 days. I wish I had this type of data for the first time I covered this topic in previous years. All I can do is tell you that my algebra grades in general were declining over the last 3 years (with the exception of last year when I started trying to find new teaching methods...even before the new IMP books). It was not unusual for my average quiz or test scores to be in the 40s or 50s. (My average score for this one was around 63.) I also feel like my students have a much better conceptual understanding of what we are doing. Several of the students who didn't perform well filled in their tables correctly and found the correct slope and had the coordinates for the y-intercept they just haven't gotten everything to connect just yet. However, I really think I can help them to get there! I intend to give them the opportunities to correct their quizzes so that they can see how close they are!