Students get three chances to take quizzes on ALEKS. So, I won’t help you during the quiz. However, the quizzes are pretty much exactly the same kind of problem, so … show all your work, write the problem down (which you’re supposed to do anyway) and … after that first attempt we can work through and learn the things you haven’t learned yet.

Except … student in question is an answer seeker. The path doesn’t matter… and student will spend a solid hour on a quiz moving digits around and trying desperately to get them to kinda look like the ones she’s done already, asking me to please, please help, give hints… then write down the right answer and start the next quiz and try even harder … on the next quiz, wondering why I am **so mean** that I won’t help with the quiz.

This is a student who works with another student who models “okay that’s the right answer; now let me go through it again to make sure I understand how I got there.” However, this student doesn’t emulate.

Student usually manages to get a decent grade on these quizzes with the “look hard and spend a lot of time on it” method… I have a funny feeling that tests are a *real* problem but “Oh, I just don’t do well on tests!!”

How to teach what it is to comprehend math, and that honestly, it’s worth changing your *whole approach* and learning a different one?

### Like this:

Like Loading...

*Related*

howardat58

February 13, 2015

I would try to make the tests more open ended, or more vague, or expect a judgment (which is better, with reasons). There is a very old book findable on the net, It is called “Problems without Figures”. If you can’t find it I’ll put the pdf up on my site..

xiousgeonz

February 14, 2015

That’s not an option (I provide support in the computer lab & have no input into course content)… these “quizzes” aren’t really “quizzes” — they are open note and open book. The nature of ALEKS is the antithesis of “open ended” — but often that is a good thing. The task on this quiz that this student (and many, many others) was stumped by was placing mixed numbers on a number line. The line would be marked off in sixths or tenths and the student whould be asked to place “1 5/6” and “-2 2/3” on the number line; so one of the numbers would not be the same size fraction.

I resist the urge to simply show them the Find The Equivalent Fraction procedure but I haven’t found a way to show/ explain that conveys well even for students trying to understand (as opposed to the ones who want to know the secret to picking out the right digits from the problem to perform the right calculation and produce an answer). This is one of those “everybody hates these!” problems that I’d love to make a video explanation … but I’m not sure how I’d explain it.

But I’ve found “problems without figures” and will have a good time with it… thanks 🙂

howardat58

February 15, 2015

I am in the middle of writing a draft guide to fractions for adults. here is a bit for you:

With a diagram and maybe a concrete example this aspect of fractions is to say the least “obvious”.

xiousgeonz

February 15, 2015

Welp… alas … this is exactly what my students do. not. find. obvious. I pretty much draw it out just like that… walk through it… it doesn’t stick. There is something that doesn’t connect between the numbers and the lines.

I suspect it’s a visual / symbol overload. *Maybe* the right kind of shading to show the “whole” aspect would help because they don’t really believe that 15/15 is the same thing as 4/4.