We've finally covered enough material in AB Calculus to start tackling free response situations. In previous years I haven't done enough of this sort of thing and it's cost us. This year with a fewer days (we're probably ~1 week behind still) I wanted to integrate the language component of AP questions earlier and more often. Last year a big issue was the kinds of things kids wanted to review before the exam were concepts I thought we had nailed already. With fewer days, the less I have to reteach in late April, the better.

A few weeks ago students completed a benchmark in Desmos. We had covered enough material to handle curve sketching and data table FRQ situations. In the days since the benchmark, we have turned to position, velocity, acceleration, and general ideas about rate functions. I ended their previous testing system (short skills based items worth a max of 10 pts) and I'm now using FRQ scenarios as assessment piece.

Last Friday I gave them this:

A small hand out with a couple graphs was included. The idea was to get them used to the language and start getting used to how points are weighted in an FRQ. The class day previous to this, students were given arbitrary v(t) functions and we went through a series of 10 questions to cover the x/v/a relationship.

I gave them 40 minutes (though mentioned in reality they'd have about 30) with no notes, but open discussion. I have to say the results were night and day to previous years. I have had TONS of problems with students just leaving stuff blank, or being stumped by the phrasing. Not so this year. While not every student got 9/9 or anything, the conversations they were having were excellent and it was clear that the majority understand the concepts.

The 40 minutes ended and I collected their papers. Come Monday their papers were returned and they were given a colored pencil. Posted were all to see were some observations I made when flipping through the papers. I have made no marks on the papers. These observations served as feedback to the group at large.

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With a colored pencil, they can use this information to update or amend their work. Then we'll look at the scoring rubric for each question. Finally, I will give them a new question (2009 #1) for them to complete. The plan is to turn this into an FRQ Fridays™ kind of thing where we can minimize how much we talk about these in late April. So far I like the process.

AuthorJonathan Claydon