Monthly Archives: July 2011

Second Chance Exam

imageHave you ever heard of a “second chance exam”?  I came across the concept for the first time in an article at Faculty Focus, Revisiting Extra Credit Policies.

Here’s how the author explains it:

The instructor attaches a blank piece of paper to the back of every exam. Students may write on that sheet any exam questions they couldn’t answer or weren’t sure they answered correctly. Students then take this piece of paper with them and look up the correct answers. They can use any resource at their disposal short of asking the instructor. At the start of the next class session, they turn in their set of corrected answers which the instructor re-attaches to their original exam. Both sets of answers are graded. If students missed the question on the exam but answered it correctly on the attached sheet, half the credit lost for the wrong answer is recovered.

I currently have a standing policy in all of my classes that allow students to correct missed problems on a test after it has been graded.  They’ll receive a bonus point on their exam grade for every correctly revised problem.  Instead of a flat bonus, this gives the most reward to students who put in the most work in the corrections. 

I used to do a flat 10 point curve for corrections.  At one point I was having students hand a test notebook at the end of the term.  The notebook contained corrected versions of their tests and they were rewarded with 3 bonus points on the their final average.

I’m considering trying this new approach, the “second chance exam” because it requires students to assess what they know, put in the work of correcting a problem and it also reduces the amount of time it takes to get a final grade into the grade book.  Right now, students take a test, then get it back the next class, then turn in corrections after that, and then I eventually return their corrections.  This new way, I collect the second chance exam the next class after the exam and then return the fully graded exam after that.

Of course, a sizeable percentage of fellow faculty would probably argue that extra credit only encourages laziness and procrastination on the part of the students but if the opportunities can be manipulated into a learning experience, isn’t that better than not learning at all?


CAMT 2011 – Our Nerd Vacation


My wife, Lori, and I have come to Grapevine, TX to attend one of the largest state-level mathematics conferences in the U.S.  We are at the Conference for the Advancement of Mathematics Teaching (CAMT) which is a joint conference held by the NCTM, MAA and TASM.  (Google them if you really have to know what those acronyms stand for)

The conference is primarily for K-12 math teachers but there are few like me here that participate or supervise in the area of teacher education.  I’m here to learn two things, better techniques to teach our up and coming teachers and changes coming due to STAAR and the EOCs.  (The tests replacing the current TAKS.)

The venue is the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas.


We have a beautiful room with an excellent view of the atrium.

IMG_1180 Stitch


Now this is more for me as a reminder than for the readers but here are the talks I have attended so far:


Day 1 (Monday, July 18)

First Timer’s Session (8:00 – 9:00)

Algebra I Activities With The TI-NspireTM Handheld – Andi Parr, Region 13 ESC (9:15 – 10:15)

The Role of Inquiry Teaching Methods in Secondary Mathematics Classrooms – Mark Daniels, University of Texas at Austin (10:30 – 11:30)

Ignite Session! – Tim Pope, Key Curriculum Press (11:45 – 12:45)
Note: This session had a unique format.  Nine speakers each had 5 minutes to present.  They each had 20 powerpoint slides that would advance ever 15 seconds automatically.  This year’s speakrs included; Pam Harris, Paula Moeller, Michelle King, James Epperson, Amber Branch, Emma Trevino, Cindy Schneider and Cindy Schimek.

Exploring AP Caluclus Activities with the TI-NspireTM – Noe Medrano (3:30 – 4:30)


Day 2 (Tuesday, July 19)

Small Group Instruction in the Secondary Classroom – Richard Yoes, Joda Mendoza, Pasadena ISD (8:00 – 9:30)

The New TI-Nspire Navigator SystemTM – Holly Larson, McKinney ISD (9:15 – 10:15)

Big Gains from Small Struggles – Cathy Seely, Charles A. Dana Center (10:30 – 11:30)

Math Curriculum Makeover – Dan Meyer, Author (11:30 – 1:00)


…more to come later