So what have I been doing with all my time? Besides running an uncontested campaign for City Council, co-organizing the Montpelier Energy Fair, and refinancing my mortgage, I've been crunching data from my classroom.
Oh gosh this is embarrassing. But I think it's healthy to just put it out there!
I've been using the Force Concept Inventory (FCI) since 2007 as a pre and post test for my students, to see if I have actually taught them any physics. In case you're not familiar the FCI is a nationally recognized physics test and I could be comparing my results with traditionally taught classrooms or project-based classrooms all over the country, and that's great, but it seems too that at least in my case - there's something to be said for gaining experience. The algorithm for Normalized Point Gain (G) is (Average post test score -Average pre-test score)/(100 - Average pre-test score)
Back in 2010 I was floored by how good my scores were, and then in 2011 you can imagine my disappointment. Was 2010 just a good dream? What happened? This of course led to a serious revamp of some specific units and putting my entire curriculum in digital form. Apparently it's paying off! It appears yet again that I'm making progress. I've already disaggregated the data to tell me which unit is my weakest, so I know where to focus my energies for next year!
In an industry where your product graduates, it's good to feel like you're making some kind of progress.