Today my Integrated Math 2 students had a planned assessment. Last week we went over the concepts we had been working with that they would be assessed on. I then gave students the option for 2 additional concepts that they still needed to show understanding of. With progress reports a week away and each of my 30 students at different places in the content, I wanted them to have the choice of what they were going to show that they knew. Depending on the student, some of the options they had available were tailored to them - I have several students still working on concepts from last quarter. Some options were stretches for students, but I love seeing if they are ready and willing for the challenge. I've also been trying to add more open-ended questions (thanks David Sladkey, Scott Miller, Nanette Johnson, and Robert Kaplinsky) as part of the assessments. And while the feedback is probably going to take twice as long as normal because of the number of different assessments given, I'm happy that I provided the students with the choices.
So yesterday during class they were given "independent learning" time. Basically, I told them they knew what they needed to work on and study and that they had resources I provided to them, they had each other, and they could grab a computer and utilize that. That was basically the instructions! Students (well, like 75% of them) were practicing and studying! I had students coming up to me to check how they were doing on problems and to ask for another to try. Other students were watching videos on the internet, finding practice problems online, and helping each other. I was blown away!! It was exciting to see that the unstructured time was probably some of the most productive I've seen them! I'm hopeful after going through the assessments that will shine through.