This week my students took the dreaded fractions test. Before I go into their results, I want to give some background knowledge on this unit and these kids.
First, fractions was by far the most difficult unit of the year last year. My class (even after the retest) averaged a 64%. This is not something I was proud of last year, and that hasn't changed. I have been anticipating and dreading this unit all year. I dread it because it is really hard and frustrating for the kids! I have been anticipating it because if there is going to be evidence of flipping success, then it will probably come from this unit.
Secondly, this group of 5th graders did not get fractions in 3rd or 4th grade (due to new curriculum/textbooks, those units got skipped) and were quite a bit behind from the start.
As always, I will always be honest in my blog. With that in mind, I think it is important that I also disclose that this year we altered the assessment we gave the students. We added a question on converting fractions that wasn't there last year, and we shortened the questions on putting fractions/decimals/mixed numbers in order from 5 numbers to 3. That being said, we sent the new assessment to our "math guru" who approved it, saying that it was still a valid test.
Okay, on to the results. I've had a lot of inner turmoil in regards to whether I should be excited with the results, or disappointed. My class averaged a 79% on their first attempt at the fractions test. The other 5th grade class averaged a 73% on their first attempt, making our total 5th grade average a 76%.
I see the number 76% and I think...hmmm, they didn't do very well. Then I look at where my group was last year. The difference between the classes is 12%...and that's before they had the chance to retest!
So I've come to an executive decision. I am going to go ahead and be happy with these scores. With some hard work on their part, next week I'll be able to report even higher percentages.