I picked up the AP Calculus exam scores for my students, and while I had a good number pass, there weren't as many passing as I expected or knew that COULD pass. This made me reflect over the school year and day-to-day activities and behaviors of the students. For the ones that didn't pass (but that could have), I see a pattern. They were seemingly attentive in class. They did their homework. They did reasonably well on tests. However, they did not pass. I think a big key is the "seemingly" attentive in class. They learned to play the game and knew to make the "paying attention" actions, meanwhile, maybe for a large portion of class, their minds were elsewhere. (this also goes for my other, nonAP classes).
I've never consistently had daily assessments at the end of class (of some form or another) to see who's getting it, and who's not. Yes, I've walked around class and they practice the skills. Yes, I know who's struggling. Yes, I suggest they come in for help. BUT. There was no consequence to them whether they followed up or not. My tests were structured in such a way that they could do corrections and earn back some points, and that was enough of a safety net for students.
On the plus side. Many (all?) of my students care about their grades, so I've started thinking. There are 6 weeks in a marking period. On block schedule, that means I see them roughly 15 times. Each day I could have a quick assessment (5 minutes?) at the end of class. Everyone getting a different problem (or at least everyone in one group of 4 getting a different problem) ... or 2 problems ... based on the day's topic. This could be worth 1 test point and so by the end of the 6 weeks, totally, this would add up to approximately 1/2 a "normal" test. They'd get 100% if it's correct. If anything is wrong, they have the option of coming after school to make it up. Each time it takes them to make it up (to 100%), their grade goes down to a B then a C, etc. Their tests are weighted about 75% of their total grade, so this would be significant enough to make a difference.
This way, they'd have more of an incentive to ACTUALLY focus and learn during class time because they'll be held immediately accountable for the information.
1. more paperwork (though it's only 1-2 problems per student and maybe I can have a limited # of total problems and put the problems on the overhead so they just have to have paper).
2. Would it have the desired affect? (well, I think so, and won't know until I try it) ... maybe I have to incorporate other things, too.