Friday, March 23, 2012

Holding students accountable and monitoring progress

One of the biggest questions I see being talked about in the Flipped World is how to hold students accountable for their work and for watching the videos.

I use a "WSQ" chart to keep tabs on my students' progress and to hold them accountable for information.  Here are the last 3 weeks WSQ charts.

Right now, the majority of my students are on the same pace.  Students may work ahead on these charts as much as they want if the material is easy for them to master.  If students start to fall behind this pace, that does become a concern for me.

 As you can see, the WSQ chart tells students what is expected of them every day in classwhich videos they need to watch (including the problems that need to be completed in the SSS packets should they choose not to/don't need to watch the videos). The Summary portion of the WSQ chart gives students the "Guided Summary" questions that should be answered and discussed in class the next day.

Every grey box has to be initialed by me by the end of the week.  Students either get a blue signature if the assignment is completed on time/pace, or a red signature if it is completed late.  At the end of the week, they get a "homework grade" based on the number of points they complete.

I have really liked how the WSQ charts have been working.  First of all, it keeps students focused on their "tasks" for the week and gives them goals to achieve.  Second, it keeps me AND them very organized, and I don't have to worry about students who were absent knowing exactly what they missed and exactly what is expected of them.  Third, it helps with at-home communication because parents can see exactly what their students need to do and what they actually got done because I sign off charts every day.

 One of my biggest concerns with using these charts was the amount of time it would take me to check homework every day.  It really doesn't take that long.  When students are doing their "5 minute WSQ", I can easily walk around and see who has the S and Q finished, all while they are talking about it.  Some days I will check a few certain problems in detail, other days I have the students self-assess and put "smiley faces" in the grey boxes that are complete to tell me what to sign off, and they have earned my trust enough to do that.  They know that if they tell me to sign something off and I don't actually check it, I can go back the next day and ask to see it... and if it isn't complete, they will be in big trouble.  Because it "doesn't matter when they get it done, as long as they get it done by the end of the week fully complete" there isn't as much pressure to just BS it.  There are still a few students who are so "trained" in "school" that they don't understand that yet, so they do struggle with it.  There are a few students who no matter what I ask to actually see their work because they have shown dishonest behavior in the past.

In addition to the WSQ charts, students take notes in their SSS packets (Here are the first few of the school year updated for 2012-2013, let me know if you would like to see other sample Units for Pre-Cal or Algebra 1).  These packets help students to follow along with the videos and gives the the guidance needed if they want to attempt the problems WITHOUT using the videos.  The problem sets for in class are included in the packets.

How do you hold students accountable for their work and monitor their progress in your flipped class? I  would love to hear your ideas and what is working in your class!


  1. Your post is fascinating to me, I'm working out how to make my assignment structure more objective and I really like how you have set yours up. I was wondering, do you keep the sheets once the students hand them in for your records or do give them back? Also, for the most part it seems that you are grading on completion, not accuracy is that true? With the summary questions, it seems like you must get a feel for if they get it or not, so them seem like an important part of your scheme. All around, its a great strategy, thanks a lot for sharing it.

    1. Thanks for your comment!
      To answer your questions...
      I don't keep all the sheets once I input them in the gradebook. The only ones I keep are those who received "homework cards" for missing a lot of assignments throughout the week. All the others are handed back to the students and they can do with them what they wish. A student can complete an assignment from a previous week and get it signed off to earn points back if they would like.

      Depending on the assignment, the class, and the students, I grade on completion sometimes and accuracy other times. With my Math Analysis Honors class, it is normally completion, but they are given all the answers and are expected to check them and make sure they are doing them correctly. They have to take concept quizzes on each assignment, so if they don't do the hw correctly they won't pass the quiz and they are wasting their time. For Algebra 1, I have to check more for accuracy because they need a little more "hand-holding" in terms of doing their work correctly and not just writing "crap" down and being okay with it. So, I won't sign off an assignment for them (for the most part) if the answers aren't checked. If they got a problem wrong, they have to re-do it before I'll sign it off. When glancing at the work, I usually have 1-2 problems in mind I'm looking for the right work/answer.

      The summary questions do a really good job of giving me a feel for how they are doing and it is very evident who really watched the video and who just "watched" it and didn't really think about it. I don't always have time to read individual summaries/questions, so I am hoping to head towards a more online submission of the S/Q so I can hold them even more accountable to doing a good job on it.

  2. The link to your sample SSS is broken. I'd sure like to see several examples of SSSs :) I'm going to be flipping all my classes this next year. So I'm looking at Geometry, Algebra 2, Precalculus, and AP Calculus. I think your Math Analysis class is basically covering the same material as Precalculus, so I'm especially interested in seeing what you do with that.

    How do you write the study packets? How do you decide what questions? What app are you writing them in?

    Also, how do you lay out your units? How closely are you following your textbook?

    1. Hi Margaret,
      Thanks for letting me know about the broken link. I have changed where I upload them to, and they are now here I am still in the process of doing edits for next year, so that is why there are only a few uploaded.
      FYI, Math Analysis is just another name for Pre-Calculus in my district.

      I use Microsoft Word 2010 to make the study packets, mainly using tables with invisible gridlines throughout the whole packet to keep things organized. I use KutaSoftware (well worth the purchase) to come up with most of my questions. Kuta only has Alg1, Geom, Alg2 right now (Calc should be coming in the fall), but I have found that the Alg2 software has most of the questions I need for Math Analysis. It's only missing probability, limits, derivatives, and word problems, which I can easily make myself or find online.

      I follow/align with the textbook sections, but out of 11 chapters (and we skip one whole chapter and 2 half chapters because of time), I have 22 "units". You can see last year's "unit map" here It won't change much for this next school year.

      There will be more SSS uploaded to that link throughout the summer as I do my final edits. These have been four years in progress and I am hoping that this is my final edit year (then again, I said that last year!).

      let me know if you have any questions.

  3. My chemistry team flipped our classrooms last year however most are abandoning that model for various reasons. However, I LOVED the "chaos", ownership and learning that did happen. I wish I had found your blog last year! We did similar routines as you do, just with different names.
    One huge issue was the amount of paper used for our "packets". I viewed one of your SSS packets and saw it was rather lengthy as well. Does every student get an SSS packet? How is the cost handled in your district? I know I will have many more questions as I wish my classroom to look like yours eventually. I now have a renewed desire to continue with the flipped learning and not only improve, but enhance my chemistry classroom next year.

    1. Hi Charlene,
      Thanks for commenting. I hope you can continue on with flipping!
      To answer your questions, yes, every student gets an SSS packet. We have a publications dept in our district that we can send things to print, and I'm honestly not sure exactly how the costs work but it's never been an issue. The only work-arounds I can think of are requiring the students to print it themselves, or having them get it digitally to view the structure and important info and then take notes themselves on paper (obviously not ideal, but a possibility)


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