Me, on our last concept quiz, balling both Law of Sines and Law of Cosines into the same heading:
I watched kids tear Law of Sines apart and then get torn apart by Law of Cosines. I was about to toss 2 points out of a possible 4 into the gradebook for, like, seventy students.
But then they come in for help a week, maybe two weeks down the line and what? How does that 2/4 direct my remediation? Which don’t they understand? Law of Sines or Cosines?
And here I try so hard to imagine: how in the world did I ever lump a dozen skills under the same “Chapter [x] Test” heading, the preferred grading strategy of the world’s math teachers?
Disaggregation is the name of the game. It empowers students and teachers. So, on the next test, I did:
Frank N., from the comments, co-opting this assessment strategy for physics.
Now, has all this craziness made a difference? I can tell you this: the kids don’t feel defeated by physics as they did in years past. They can get a 2/10, realize that they didn’t know what they thought they knew, and come back to get a 9/10 and feel great. Plus, when it comes down to grades, there isn’t anything stopping them from getting a 100 each quarter. The ball in in THEIR court. How can a parent argue with a system like that?
In addition, I can immediately tell which topics need re-teaching by me and which the kids get right away.