Monday, January 18, 2016

Math Lit 2e update and group quizzes

I've been a bit MIA on the blog for the past several months as Heather and I are knee deep in the creation of the second edition of Math Lit. It will be coming out this year. A blog with more info on it will be coming soon. We are very excited about it and what we can provide instructors and students in math literacy pathways courses.

If you are beginning your semester with a pathways course, consider using group quizzes if you haven't before. I was a skeptic about the idea of students assessing together, outside of projects, because of the fear of grade inflation. That has never been an issue because I don't quiz that often in groups, just once per unit, and my quizzes aren't a large part of the student's overall grade. I have many quizzes in MyMathLab that are individual.

So why use group quizzes?

Without question, I see students interact and engage during group quizzes than any other time in class. The reasons are simple: I give them hard problems where they need each other and points are attached, which automatically increases a student's level of concern. Because of these two components, students will really talk to each other, debate, and listen. There has been a great give and take. It's always really interesting and fun to watch and it reminds me why I believe in pathways courses so much: because they work. They expose students to meaningful math in ways they are not used to and they give students the opportunity to dig into problems instead of just rushing through a myriad of skills. There are many skills, of course, in pathways courses but they're not the focus. Problem solving, critical thinking, and creating 21st century learners are the goals. Group quizzes are one tool to encourage all of these.

If you're looking for good problems for group quizzes, consider using homework problems from Math Lit and/or the quizzes available in the Instructor Resource Manual of the Instructor Resource Center in the MyMathLab course for Math Lit.