Tues Aug 28 – Growth and Mastery

Hello and welcome to MATH 231. Each day of class I’ll post a blog entry like this one on the class Timeline to outline what we’ll be doing during class, and what you should remember to do after class. Today’s is a little long, because we have a lot to discuss…

// Getting Started

  • Roll call and First Day Survey
  • Talk to your neighbor: Find one thing you agree on regarding your thoughts about this class and/or mathematics in general.

// Let’s Do Some Math

  • Work with one or more other students to sketch the “slope functions” associated to the following two graphs:

// Growth Mindset

  • Watch this 10-minute video together as a class:

  • Talk to your neighbor: Did anything in the video have relevance to you personally? Do you think you have historically had a fixed mindset or a growth mindset in mathematics? Is there anything from this video that you think you could use to help you succeed in MATH 231?

// Mastery-Based Grading

  • To encourage a positive growth mindset in this math class, we’re going to try something new called “Mastery-Based Grading”. Basically, we’re going to move away from the typical calculus-class model in which there are a few high-stakes, do-or-die exams. Instead, there will be a continuous stream of lower-stakes Mastery Quiz evaluations, each of which has opportunities for being retaken and improved upon.
  • Practice Quiz (hand out)
  • Talk to your neighbor: Discuss your thoughts about the potential pitfalls, problems, and benefits of Mastery-Based Grading. What are you concerned about? What are you happy about? What do you have questions about?

// What to expect in this class

All sections of MATH 231 use the same textbook, but each instructor implements their own style and philosophy of teaching. Here’s what it will be like day-to-day in my sections of MATH 231 this semester:

  • During class
    • 9:30-9:45: Distribute and take Mastery Quizzes or Retakes, according to the schedule on the Homework Calendar;
    • 9:45-10:00: Short overview of the reading for the day’s new section in the textbook;
    • 10:00-10:45: Lecture, discussion, problems, and group work to learn and practice the new material.
  • After class
    • Read the section and complete as many problems from the current homework assignment as needed to acheive mastery of the material.
    • Work as needed in study groups or at the Math and Science Learning Center.
    • Ask questions and join discussions in the Slack Group Office Hours.
    • Review the homework and reading as needed to prepare for the next day’s Mastery Quiz.
  • By the end of the semester
    • You’ll have taken 17 Mastery Quizzes, one for each section of the textbook; see the Mastery Quizzes FAQ.
    • You’ll have retaken a number of Mastery Quizzes, each time replacing lower grades with higher grades if possible.
    • You’ll construct your own Final Exam by choosing up to eight Mastery Quizzes to retake during the exam period.
    • Your grade for the course will be based on your high scores on each of the 17 Mastery Quizzes; see the Grades FAQ.

// The Beginning

  • Overview of Section 0.1 reading
  • Discussion of Section 0.1: algebra, rational numbers, set and interval notations

// After Class

  • Sign up for the class Slack group and leave a post saying hello and introducing yourself.
  • Make sure you have the textbook. If for some reason you do not, then find someone who is willing to share with you for a while by asking around or posting in the Slack group. If your textbook order is delayed then you can download the first three sections of the book from our Canvas site.
  • Take the online 231 Policy Check survey, and retake it as necessary until you have acheived 100% mastery on all questions. You may freely look up anything you like on the class website during the survey.
  • According to the Homework Calendar, your homework after this class is to read Section 0.1 and complete some assigned homework problems from that section. There will be a Mastery Quiz on this section at the start of class on Wednesday. This is an easy section so a good opportunity to start off with a “3” on a Mastery Quiz, if you prepare!
  • If you are concurrently enrolled in MATH 199: Your success in MATH 231 will be highly dependent on how seriously you take MATH 199, and how fast you complete the Gateway Quizzes in that course. Historical departmental data shows that successful completion of MATH 199 can raise performance in MATH 231 by a full letter grade.