Aug 16

The pearls of AP Statistics 10

Pirates are everywhere! But this post is about team work.

Here I said that the TI-83+ and TI-84 graphing calculators are so primitive that it is impossible to upload files to them. Well, if you are wrong, it's never too late to admit that. Here is a video on YouTube showing that these calculators are real dinosaurs. There are many other cool ways to bypass the restrictions set by the College Board. Where there is demand there is supply.

teamThis is what I do to prevent cheating. 1) Use only open-end questions that require more understanding than memorization. 2) Improve students' preparation. If they know the material, no reason for them to cheat. 3) And, of course, administer exams/quizzes in a way that prevents cheating. Here is how:

1) I give a list of questions in advance. Sample question: Describe a situation in which: a) The mode is preferred to the mean and median, b) The mean is preferred to the mode and median, c) The median is preferred to the mean and mode. Summarize your conclusions in a table.

2) I divide students in teams and tell them to study and discuss the questions. The main rule is that the quiz is written by randomly selected team reps. Team members get the grade received by their rep. Joint responsibility and natural mutual help are what drive the team work.

3) When the students say they are ready for the quiz, I select the team reps and seat them in the front row. Based on the list of questions they worked on, I make several smaller lists that they can answer in at most 30 min, and distribute those smaller lists randomly among the reps. They cannot cheat because they are sitting right in front of me, answer different lists and are not allowed to use any devices. Most importantly, they know that the material for the next quiz will be even more difficult, and if they don't know the current material, they will have serious problems later. While they are writing, other students are working on a new list.

This method also saves me tons of time. Instead of checking answers of all students I check only answers of reps, and those answers are not based on the large list. My impression is that this method will not work with US students, who are big individualists.

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