Fellows’ Lounge for November 8

This week we invited the fellows to share ways that they are using Desmos for assessment purposes. While many had never used Desmos for assessment, those who had did so in unique and interesting ways. Some examples include:

  • Gerald Smith and Paul Jorgens have considered Desmos for part II of a test, where the topics aren’t as easily assessed on paper. Such is the case for problems that involve analyzing a set of graphs or creating graphs as part of a more open ended problem.
  • Serge Ballif teaches a course that uses Desmos for all exams. Students in his class spend very little time on the mechanics of solving equations, because Desmos will solve for them. Instead the class focus is on setting up equations and models and interpreting solutions.
  • Projects! Sarah Blick Vandivort has her students using Desmos to produce a graph as part of a project on linear systems. Linda Saeta, Anna Scholl, and Jade White have used Des-Art to assess student understanding of equations of lines and other function transformations.
  • Tony Riehl’s students completed their first semester final exam review on Desmos. Access to data helped Tony determine areas where students needed additional review.
  • Nick Corley has considered designing activities to help students practice for the PARCC exam.

Nolan Doyle pushed us mid-discussion to consider why we are using Desmos as an assessment tool, and to be purposeful in choosing ways to incorporate it. He wants his students to view Desmos first and foremost as a tool to help them explore math and make discoveries on their own, and wonders if students may view Desmos differently if used on assessments.

Some of the fellows are using Desmos on both formative and summative assessments in order to collect and learn from the data. Paul Jorgen’s PLC routinely uses data from activity builder dashboards to assess student understanding of topics and decide on activity revisions and next steps. Scott Miller noticed through looking at data that analyzing the graph responses helps clarify what misconceptions students have around more open ended tasks.

Even with the ease of collecting data, many of us wondered about logistics. Julie Reulbach shared her midterm with us, which included a mix of responses submitted on paper and on Desmos. Another idea for logistics and test security was to keep test problems on paper and have students submit answers only in a Desmos Activity.

What ideas have you tried? Let us know on Twitter @desmos.