It seems we were just talking about grades and here we are at the conclusion of the first semester! Hard to believe that we are now at the midway point of the 2016/2017 school year.
As we come into semester exams week, I have run my current S1 reports which factor Q1 and Q2 but don’t have a semester exam calculated in.
Computer Science I
As you can see, the grades in Computer Science for S1 led to a double-hump camel and not a nice bell curve. While we have a nice spike in the 80’s (42.85%), we have another smaller spike in the 50’s (14.28%).
Currently, this class has failure rate of 21.43%. Hopefully, the semester exam will be enough to pull some of those failures up to passes.
Principles of Technology
As you can see here, the grades don’t give us a nice bell, but there is no double-hump. At present, 44% of the students in the class are holding an “A” for the semester.
Currently, the class has a failure rate of 4%.
Robotics & Automation
As you can see here, the grades give us a nice bell, but it spikes in the 90’s. At present, 72% of the students in the class are holding an “A” for the semester with 38% of those holding a 100%.
Currently, this class has a 0% failure rate!
Business Information Management I
As you can see, all of these classes have a heavy shift to the A’s with 71% of all students enrolled. Just under 22% of students are evenly split between B’s and C’s.
Currently, all BIM classes together have just over a 7% failure rate for the semester.
It’s once again that time. It’s time for progress reports. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been asked by my students if they can lose their eligibility or can only re-gain it at this progress check. As a UIL coach, I have to say that’s not filling me with a lot of confidence as we come into the proverbial home-stretch of the semester.
For the record, students can only lose eligibility at a report card (each 9-weeks) and at the state-mandated 6-week grade check that is obviously 6-weeks into the start of the school year.
This progress check, I also began to adjust grades to be in alignment with the campus policies for grade distribution. In the graphs below, the blue represents the original (uncurved) grades for the grading period and the red represents the modified (curved) grades for the grading period.
The first cluster is percentage of A’s, the second cluster is percentage of B’s, the third cluster is percentage of C’s, and the final cluster is percentage of F’s.
While it appears that some classes tremendously benefited from the modifications (e.g. Computer Science I) and other received little benefit (e.g. BIM – All Sections), remember that you are looking at percentages and not actual numbers.
At the time of this writing, my current enrollment numbers are as follows:
Computer Science I – 14 Students (1 Section)
Principles of Technology – 25 Students (1 Section)
Robotics & Automation – 18 Students (1 Section)
Business Information Management I – 83 Students (4 Sections)
As you can see, in some of the classes, an adjustment to the grades of 2 students can reflect as a major grade shift in some classes (e.g. 14% in Computer Science I) and a minor grade shift in other classes (e.g. 2% in BIM – All Sections).
The 15 cards are placed on the walls around random parts of the main hallway. The class is broken into 12 teams of 2 and each team is assigned a starting number. Teams must move through all 15 cards in any order they would like as long as there is no unnecessary “congregating” around any single card.
This particular knowledge hunt requires the students to utilize a QR scanner to “read” the question.
They must scan the QR code and then either use their existing knowledge or research skills to answer the question. The answers are then recorded on a provided answer document, which is submitted for a grade from each team. Only one answer document is needed from each team as long as both team members names are on the answer document.
Here are the questions they are having to answer (in no particular order):
In electromagnetism, electric current is measured using which SI unit?
In electromagnetism, what does the SI unit of a coulomb measure?
In electromagnetism, what does the SI unit of a farad measure?
In electromagnetism, what does the SI unit of a tesla measure?
In electromagnetism, what does the SI unit of a volt measure?
In electromagnetism, what does the SI unit of a watt measure?
In electromagnetism, what does the SI unit of an ohm measure?
Nikola Tesla is best known for his work on what?
The electromagnetic force is one of the 4 forces of nature.
What are the names of the poles of a magnet?
What electrical charge discovery is Thomas Edison credited with that was the “opposite” of the work of Nikola Tesla?
What happens when identical poles of a magnet are placed near each other?
What happens when opposite poles of a magnet are placed near each other?
Who is credited with the discovery of induction (production of an electromotive force (ie voltage) as a result of the interaction between two magnetic fields)?
Who is the French mathematician and physicist, considered to be the father of electrodynamics?
Following the delivery of the exercise, I will be posting an answer key to this exercise.
Recently, in Principles of Technology we wrapped-up motion and acceleration with a project involving construction of a small-scale trebuchet made of popsicle sticks, rubber bands, and any other materials that could be secured to defend an assigned army.
We competed in a bracket elimination system. Each team started with their trebuchet and 20 soldiers. Each team took one turn shooting at the other. Any soldiers who are hit were removed from play.
At least 2 soldiers were required to be standing to fire the trebuchet. Students asked during the competition if they could use their “dead” soldiers as ammunition. I agreed and it turned out to be surprisingly effective.
If the trebuchet itself was hit, it was unable to return fire for one round to undergo “repairs”. At least 5 soldiers were required to complete repairs to the trebuchet.
If a team dropped below the minimum number of required soldiers for their next move, they were eliminated.
The students found the entire game very interesting and understood the physics behind all of it.
For a final battle, we broke everyone into 2 large groups and fought against each other in a rapid open-fire exercise.
It has been 3 weeks since the 1st quarter of the school year wrapped-up. As such, we’re at another grade check – Progress Report 3.
As this is a progress report, students cannot lose eligibility per UIL guideline, they can only regain eligibility if they lost it 3 weeks ago when the 1st quarter ended.
Following is how my 4 courses performed at this grade check.
Computer Science I
For the past 3 weeks, Computer Science I has had 1 quiz grade and 5 daily grades. One of those daily grades was eligible for a grade drop as there was an unusual disruption to the instruction that day.
As you can see, the grades are starting to separate considerably from where they were in prior grading cycles. This grading cycle has had a challenging concept covered for much of its duration: Base-2, Base-8, Base-10, and Base-16 numbering systems and conversions between and arithmetic within those systems.
For the past 3 weeks, Robotics has had only 4 daily grades.
As is the case with Computer Science, the grades have started to separate considerably from where they were in prior grading cycles. Nothing during this grading cycle has been very difficult, but some students have elected to not participate and their grades reflect this decision.
Principles of Technology
For the past 3 weeks, Principles of Technology has had 3 daily grades, 1 quiz grade (Egg Drop Project) and 1 test grade (Unit 2).
Unlike the preceding two classes, this class is relatively tightly packed in the 70+ range with a peak in the 90+ range. Given the materials covered, I am relatively pleased with these grades.
Business Information Management I
For the past 3 weeks, all 4 of my BIM classes have had 4 daily grades and 1 test grade (Tables in MS Word).
As you can see, several of the BIM classes have multiples A’s as well as multiple failures with the exception of BIM 3B. Many students have elected to not submit class assignments or their tests or both. As such, this has had a major impact on their grades. All students who have submitted work are passing.
In my Principles of Technology class, we performed the classic “egg drop” rig building experiment. As this is a fundamental physics class, we’re using this to discuss Unit 2: Conservation of Energy and Momentum where we cover Newton’s 3 laws of motion.
The students were given three 90-minute class sessions to research ideas for their drop rigs and to build them.
Following these three class sessions, we performed the drops.
The first drop was done from the ground at a height of 2 meters (~6.56 feet). Of the 20 rigs that were dropped, 18 survived and 2 failed.
The second drop was done from the basket of a pneumatic boom lift at a height of 7 meters (~22.96 feet). Of the 18 rigs that were dropped, 10 survived and 8 failed.
The third drop was also done from the basket on the boom.lift at a height of 15.5 meters (~50.85 feet). Of the 10 rigs that were dropped, 5 survived and 5 failed.
The final drop was done like the third drop, but each rig was thrown as opposed to only being accelerated by gravity. Of the 5 rigs that were thrown, 3 survived and were declared the “winner” and 2 failed.
Following the last drop, I took a quick panoramic picture using Google Cardboard Camera. It was a nice view around Ferris today!
The first 25% of the 2016/2017 Academic Year is now in the books! Hard to believe – but, it’s true. This past Friday, 14-October-2016 marked the end of the first 9-week grading quarter of the year.
Here’s a recap of how the grades broke out for my various classes:
Computer Science I (1B)
This quarter ended with an introduction into iterations, which is one of the more challenging concepts for students to comprehend. As such, the grades fluctuated a little bit at the end of the grading cycle.
The only 2 failures were due to poor performance on the unit tests and not taking advantage of the opportunity to submit corrections to bring the grades higher.
Principles of Technology (2A)
The quarter ended with an introduction to Conservation of Energy and Momentum. The only two failures in the class were not a direct result of poor performance on a test, but due to lack of participating on projects.
The only 2 failing students elected to not participate on various major projects during the first quarter (e.g. air skimmer, water bottle rocket, etc…).
Robotics & Automation (3A)
Unlike the previous two classes, all students in this class passed all objectives for the quarter. Any low-grades were once again due to students not submitting work and not due to lack of understanding.
Business Information Management I (2B)
While the graph shows 1 student failing this class during this period, that grade was adjusted up to passing as it was within the 69.0 to 69.9 range. I personally do not let students sit on a “9”. I always override and round up the 69, 79, and 89.
As such, like the 3A Robotics and Automation class, this class had no failures!
Business Information Management I (3B)
Like the BIM class before it, this class had no failures! However, this class genuinely had zero failures and also held the highest average of all of my BIM classes! Way to go BIM 3B!
Business Information Management I (4A)
Like the BIM class before it, this class also genuinely had zero failures and came in a close second for the highest average of my BIM classes! Good work BIM 4A!
Business Information Management I (4B)
Like the BIM class before it, this class also genuinely had zero failures. However, this class had the highest number of low-C’s of any of the BIM classes. I am going to need to watch this class closely as there were far too many students who were too close to falling below the cut-off for my comfort.
What Will Be Changing
As we enter the 2nd Quarter of the year a few things will be changing in all of my classes.
Seating chart will be established for Computer Science I to cut down on incidents of students disrupting class and interfering with learning.
Seating chart will be established for Principles of Technology to address incidents of student disruptions.
Seating chart will be established for Business Information Management (4B) to address student interactions that are preventing work from being completed in a timely manner.
Students who fail to complete an assignment will be immediately assigned to come in for lunch/advisory on that day if in 1st or 2nd periods and on the next day if in 3rd or 4th periods.
Students will not be allowed to take “breaks” on the computers when working. They will be allowed to listen to music, but video games will be blocked until complete and proper work is submitted.
Campus late policy will be implemented as written. Work will no longer be taken after 5 days from assigned date except in rare and extreme cases.
Well, here we are – 6 calendar weeks into the 2016/2017 academic year! While we are running 9-week quarter grading cycles, the UIL requires eligibility to be calculated at the first 6-weeks and then at each progress reporting period – approximately every 3 weeks.
Here, you can see that I have a total of 24 students on the roster at the time of the snapshot.
6/25 (24.0%) have A’s
11/25 (44.0%) have B’s
5/25 (20.0%) have C’s
2/25 (8.0%) have F’s
1/25 (4.0%) are Incomplete/Ungraded
To date, this class has had 1 major grade (25% of average), 3 intermediate grades (25% of average), and 11 minor grades (50% of average).
The next grade check will be at the conclusion of Q1, which ends on Friday, 14-October-2016.
Missing work has been submitted by some students and the grade distributions have shifted to the following…
One of the projects that we do as part of Unit 1 – Motion in Principles of Technology is the “Mousetrap Racers”. These are the kits that come with basic materials for building a race car driven by a mousetrap. However, there are no directions.
In my case, students were working in groups of 2 and had 3 90-minute class periods to prepare their cars. They could use anything from within the classroom on their race cars.