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Does anyone have experience in handling course incompletes (due to illness or the like) within a course where SBSG is being used? Curious how others have handled re-assessments and the like when this extends beyond the normal end of the semester.

I'm planning to try to implement SBSG in Precalculus and Calculus I. (I have previously used it in our Transition to Proof course, borrowing heavily from +Robert Talbert 's materials.) If anyone has syllabi or other materials that they would be willing to share for either of these courses, I would be grateful! I'm currently in the brainstorming stage so any ideas would be welcome.

+Kate Owens, I found a blog post of yours in which you expressed hesitancy about using SBSG in precalculus. Why was that? Thanks!


So, our campus will be switching LMSs in the near future, to either Blackboard or Canvas. I was wondering if anyone here has experience with either of those systems and using the grade book to compute totals.

In my courses, students get a true/false reading quiz before each class meeting and they have three attempts to achieve a passing score, which is having 80% of the questions answered correctly. A requirement for the grades of A, B, or C is to pass a certain number of these quizzes, and in our current LMS (Moodle) I have been able to have the grade book "count" the number of passed quizzes as the total for that category. (It's a long complicated formula, but I understand how to write it and it works.)

Does anyone have experience in using in either Blackboard or Canvas is creating a calculated column that can count the number of passed quizzes? (or say count the number of Es or Ms received on assessment - I can currently do that in Moodle as well.) This is really important to me as I try to assist our LMS committee on which system I would prefer.



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Hi Everyone! First, I'd like to thank everyone participating in this community. Your posts and stories are so inspirational!!

Several of you commented on my previous post about whether or not to implement SBG in two classes at once. Now that the semester has started, I wanted to give you an update.

It has been a WILD beginning to the semester. Back in December I decided to go ahead and implement SBG in both of my Spring semester courses, Precalculus and Calculus II (I have attached my syllabi for both). I spent quite a bit of time formulating my specific implementation, thinking about the appropriate standards and how I would manage the workload. THEN IT GOT INTERESTING!!! A week before the semester started I found out that I would ALSO be teaching Calculus III. Aside from never having taught the material, it had been many years since I even HAD the material.

I was faced with the sudden decision as to whether or not to implement SBG in a THIRD class. Well - I took a deep breath and went for it. I now am running all three classes under the SBG assessment model.

We are in the third week of the semester, as so far so good. I have a few thoughts about what has happened so far:

1. We are just beginning to get grades back on the standards, so students are just now figuring out what re-assessment is all about, how it works, and why they want to do it. Therefore, they will only have about 11-12 weeks to actually re-assess. I have at this time restricted two of the classes to a single standard re-assessed per week, but the third class only meets twice a week so they don't have time to get feedback before another week has passed. Therefore, I'm letting them re-assess two standards per week. This is probably going to increase my workload in terms of writing quizzes, but I'm guessing I may have to move to two standards per week in the other two classes as well, we'll see.

2. The decisions about how to use and assess homework were critical. I decided that since mastery is the goal, that homework is absolutely required. Since I will not have the bandwidth to grade it, I went with the computer based assignment systems available for my textbooks. I'm using MyMathLab from Pearson for the two calculus classes and WebAssign for the Precalculus.

I require the students to get 80% or better on each assignment to "pass" that assignment. Then, depending on whether they want an "A", "B" or "C" they have to pass a certain number of assignments and have to reach a certain score on the remaining assignments. This has had the somewhat unexpected beneficial effect of VERY early feedback to the students about what they are and are not getting. Additionally, they are spending WAY more time on their work much earlier in the semester.

3. Overall, the initial implementation has been much smoother than I expected. The students are really liking it so far, because of the amount of control it gives them as well as the constant opportunities to assess. In addition, I have been reading "Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning" by Peter Brown. It seems that the frequent assessments have the additional beneficial effect of more long-term retention of the material. So, I'm pretty excited.

I'm attaching the syllabi for one of my classes here (Calc III). I'll post the other two either in comments or as separate posts. I'm happy to talk to anyone about my experiences so far, and would love any feedback about the syllabi. I'll let you know if I survive the semester!

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I just finished redesigning my syllabus for a Survey of Spanish-American Literature course (redesign heavily based on Tona Hangen's "Extreme Syllabus Makeover") using specifications grading. Inviting comments on the specs grading, mostly pages 3-6.

Some of you may also find some of your own words in this syllabus…please let me know if you'd like attribution. I was a bad academic, and I've now forgotten where most of the things I've excerpted came from.

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Hi everyone, hope your semester is winding down well. I've done an update of my syllabus for the upcoming Discrete Structures 2 course, and I'm sharing it so you can pick it apart. Enjoy.

So I've got myself in a pickle. I've adopted the "You can't revise something you didn't originally attempt policy" (I use EMRF) for revising exam assessment, even to the point of not allowing it for multipart problems. Calc I problem, identify the zeros, critical points, inflection points, intervals where pos/neg, intervals where incr/decr, intervals where concave up/down. An E required getting all 6 parts correct. An M required 3 exactly correct and 2 others not necessarily correct, but with a lot of good work. R was two correct with a third partially correct. My thinking was students would work all parts and I would mark based on what they accomplished. Well, several students only answered three parts (usually correct or mostly correct). So, it's an R. But they didn't even attempt the other parts (the intervals in all cases). So, even though I told them the could revise it, they didn't do enough work to actually have anything to revise. One student has (rightfully) called me out on it. So, I'm kinda stuck. Any suggestions?

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Hi everyone. I wrote a quick blog post reflecting on how my SBG Linear Algebra course went this semester. I included a link to my list of course standards. We had 20 standards this semester, and they were grouped by "Big Questions" we tackled. The post describes some things I thought went well and some things I'm hoping to improve next semester, when I'll be teaching the class again. 

Who is using SBSG/Specification Grading for a non mathematics course here? Where would you go to find resources on such classes?
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