Method 4: Testing with Style and Rigor

Short Description: Tests and quizzes should mirror the style and rigor of the standardized tests as often as possible. That means using high level rigor and using questions that feel like they could on the exam. When they take the exam they will feel like it is all too familiar.

Good vs Bad Test Question Example:

This is the type of question on the tests at the end of the year:


This is the type of question on the tests/quizzes during the year:


One of these is much more representative of the exam.

Doing well on tests should imply doing well on exams.

Method 3: Cumulative Mastery Curriculum

Short Description: Devote at least a part of every day to cumulative review. Every day we review because I want my students to retain information. Usually, I pick a selection of 3-5 topics to review/remediate based on how “stale” the information is as well as based on their quizzes and tests. The goal is mastery of 100% of skills by the end of the year and that cannot be accomplished if they do not routinely review it.

Classroom Example:

  • Quizlet: Uploading a sample set of problems to be able to quickly create activities.
  • Make your own worksheet: Let them choose the problems.
  • Give a cumulative assessment every Friday and use it do determine the next weeks topics.

Supporting Literature: There is a lot of research in spaced repetition including Leitner, Pimsleur and Butler

Method 2: Recovery

Short Description: Do you have a plan for students who fail a test? What can they do to recover the knowledge that they missed? What can they do to recover that failing grade? Have a recovery plan instead of a remediation plan. Give the student the steps to get back on track and be sure that those steps focus on learning and not completing work.

Classroom Example:

  • Instead of allowing quiz corrections to improve a quiz grade, allow quiz retakes so that they can show they know the material (you can use the quiz corrections as the ”ticket” for retaking).
  • Online Recovery Lessons: When my students fail a unit test, I often have an online recovery unit that they may complete for 0 credit. Why do it? If you complete the recovery I will allow you to retake the test you failed.

Method 1: Growth Mindset and Grit

Short Description: Students and Teachers must both understand that ignorance is temporary and adopt a growth mindset instead of a fixed one. Show them they can learn, because many students do not believe they are capable of learning math.

Classroom Example:

  • Saying the right things.
  • Providing second chances to show they know something.
  • Involve them in reflection and goal setting

Supporting Literature: Dweck and Duckworth