Day 11: SBG and Collaborative 2-Stage Exams


AP Physics C: On Monday, AP students took an exam on most of the material in Chapter 2 of Matter and Interactions. Today, they took the same exam in groups. Open notes, open each other, open anything. Whatever they didn’t finish in class is tonight’s homework. (Note: They did not get Monday’s exam back yet.) I don’t know if I’ll keep doing it — that’s a lot of time to devote to assessment. But yet the conversations going during class today were so great. I think that is what has to keep them honest — hearing the discussion and the explaining and the learning. As soon as it turns into one kid telling all the other what to write down, or everyone working in silence as they all copy off the same kid, then we won’t continue any more.

In my SBG system this year, I’ve switched from last year’s binary system (✓ or ✗) to a traffic light system (green = mastery, yellow = partial mastery, red = no mastery). The binary system had led to a defeatist attitude in some students. Plus, I wanted students to feel some sense of accomplishment for understanding part of a learning objective. Having a partial mastery level also allows me to recognize students who understand the concepts but might need some help or prompting. Students that demonstrate mastery of a concept on a group assessment will score yellow/partial mastery.

Read more about 2-Stage Collaborative Exams here: “Collaborative Testing: Evidence of Learning in a Controlled In-Class Study of Undergraduate Students” by By Brett Hollis Gilley and Bridgette Clarkston.


About Frank Noschese

HS Physics Teacher constantly questioning my teaching.

4 responses to “Day 11: SBG and Collaborative 2-Stage Exams”

  1. Craig Koch says :

    Interesting idea. I’m giving my first exam in a regular Physics class tomorrow. I’m using a 4 pt. SBG. I normally hand exams back partially graded the next day. If the item is 100% they don’t need to do anything and if there is any error they need to determine what the error is and correct it. This year I am using Green-Blue-Yellow-Red to indicate which standard they have met, partially met or haven’t met, but I might try your idea at least once to see what discussion does arise.

  2. Heather Waterman (@watermanphysics) says :

    Love this idea, do they both count as “tests” point wise too?

    • Frank Noschese says :

      I treat it like a re-assessment in my SBG system. The only caveat is that demonstrating mastery on the group exams is a score of Yellow (mastery with help) rather than Green. A Yellow “mastery with help” counts the same as a Yellow “partial mastery without help”.

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