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Bundled ABP Standards

August 6, 2013

OK, draft of 13 standards for intro physics are below. That’s realistically one per week.The goal here has been to align standards with the high stakes assessment that will be administered to students during the semester, while supporting their learning in ways that I know matter. There’s lot of compromises going on here, and it still needs some adjustments. The standards are grouped by what students will need to have mastered for each of the four high stakes assessments–exams that focus on problem-solving.

Student Initiated Re-assessments

I students will have to apply in order to reassess with some evidence submitted with it that they practiced. I don’t want to have crazy barriers to reassess, but I don’t want anyone reassessing without putting in some work to learn first.

Feedback to Students

Intend to give feedback on learning indicators. Units and Vectors are the only ones that don’t have proficiency standards, since they aren’t separate problem-solving types they’ll see.  I’m leaning toward evaluating on a four point scale.

Developing (Minus): At least one learning indicator

Developing: All learning indicators but no problem-solving proficiency

Proficient (Minus): Problem-solving proficiency with not all learning indicators

Proficient: Problem-solving proficiency with all learning indicators (all together)

Assessment Format

The quizzes will typically have a problem to solve and 1-3 conceptual/reasoning questions. Students can get marks for learning indicators either on conceptual questions or in the midst of problem solving. Proficiencies (whether minus or not) will only be given for completely correct problem-solving with adequate work shown to justify credit.

Students can apply for reassessment that I will bring to class up until the exam that covers the relevant topic. After that, students must apply reassessment that happens during office hours. This means that I only have to juggle 3-4 standards at a time. High stakes exams, including the final, can be used as evidence for developing or proficiency.



#1 Don’t have a standard for uniform circular motion, but it’s something that will be on the test. I don’t want to have five standards during the time before exam two. While I could get rid of Newton’s laws (basic), I don’t think that’s going to help student learning in the long run.

#2 I’ve folded free-fall into constant acceleration. That’s to keep the number of standards low, especially toward the beginning while we are all figuring this out.

#3 Energy and momentum are bundled–super scary. The reason for this is that students are typically asked to solve problems that involve both concepts together. Have to think about this one, but I am inclined to have standards that align with expectations. They’ll still get separate practice and feedback on energy and momentum concepts.

#4 I have previously done binary grading (Y/N), so I’m concerned about the time it will take me to grade these / write these. With fine-grained targeted assessments, I graded same day and gave back to students. It was hectic, but doable. Probably not anymore. So now, I’m thinking self-assessment at the back of the room is only way to go.

#5 How will I translate this into a portion of the grade I have control over?

#6 Please tell me what else I should be concerned about. Comments, criticisms, concerns, questions are more than welcome.


1.1 Units

  • I am familiar with SI units and their prefixes
  • I can correctly re-express quantities using different units
  • I recognize unit cancellations and can simplify expressions involving them.


1.2 Constant Velocity

Learning Indicators

  • Distinguish among position, change-in-position, and distance
  • Use and interpret position vs. time graphs
  • Distinguish between average speed and velocity

Proficiency Indicator

  • Solve complex back-and-forth motion problems


1.3 Constant Acceleration

Learning Indicators

  • I can relate acceleration, velocity, and change in velocity
  • I can use and interpret velocity vs. time graphs
  • I use a reliable “getting started” method that includes drawing a sketch, choosing a coordinate system, & identifying variables from text/diagrams
  • I can identify the direction of kinematic vector quantities and utilize such information consistently using algebraic sign.

Proficiency Indicator

  • Solve complex problems involving constant acceleration.


2.1 Vectors

  • I can determine the components of vectors given magnitude and angle
  • I can describe the magnitude and angle of a vector given its components


2.2 Projectiles

Learning Indicators

  • I use a reliable “getting started” method, including drawing a sketch, choosing a coordinate system, and identifying variables from the text.
  • I correctly identify and distinguish dimensions with constant a and constant v
  • I can recognize when vector analysis is needed and can perform it
  • I can apply the independence of dimensions to qualitatively reason about special cases of projectile motion.

Proficiency Indicator

  • I can solve projectile motion problems.

2.3 Newton’s Laws (Basic)

Learning Indicators

  • Recognize when the forces on an object or system are balanced or unbalanced from graphs, equations, or descriptions of motion
  • Draw a force diagram (FBD) accurately showing directions and types of forces acting on an object or system.
  • Write net force equations describing an object or system.

Proficiency Indicator

  • Solve problems using net force equations and diagrams


2.4 Newton’s Laws (Advanced)

Learning Indicators

  • Use trigonometric relationships to find force components
  • Recognize when to and be able to apply specific force models (e.g., static friction, kinetic friction, ideal springs, etc).
  • Write net force equations describing an object or system.

Proficiency Indicator

  • Solve problems using net force equations and diagrams



3.1 Energy and Momentum

 Learning Indicators

  • I can calculate the work due to a force
  • I can recognize situations where mechanical energy is conserved
  • I can write a correct conservation of energy equation
  • I can recognize situations where conservation of momentum applies
  • I can write a correct conservation of momentum equation

 Proficiency Indicator

  • I can solve problems that requires conservation of energy & momentum


3.2 Static Equilibrium

Learning Indicators

  • I can determine the torque associated with a force around a given pivot
  • I can write a correct sum of torques statement
  • I can write a correct sum of forces statement

Proficiency Indicator

  • I can solve problems involving static equilibrium


3.3 Rotational Kinematics

Learning Indicators

  • I can relate frequency, angular frequency, and period
  • I can relate angular displacements, (average) angular velocity, and time
  • I can relate angular velocities, angular accelerations, and time
  • I can relate angular kinematic variables to tangential kinematic variables


Proficiency Indicator

  • I can solve rotational kinematic problems


4.1 Oscillations

Learning Indicators

  • I can identify amplitude and period in graphs, equations, and pictures
  • I can identify the factors that do and do not influence frequency for both a simple pendulum and a simple mass-spring system
  • I can compare velocity, acceleration, and force for various points along the motion of an object in a simple mass-spring system
  • I can qualitatively analyze the energy transformation for an oscillating system

 Proficiency Indicator

  • I can analyze an oscillating system using kinematics, forces, and/or energy concepts to solve a problem.


4.2 Waves

Learning Indicators

  • Relate string length and wavelength for standing waves on a string
  • Reason about and use relationships for wave speed, wavelength, & frequency
  • Reason about & use relationships that relate wave speed to medium properties

Proficiency Indicator

  • I can solve problems involving vibrations among multiple media


4.3 Hydrostatics

Learning Indicators

  • I can quantitatively/qualitatively reason about pressure changes in a liquid
  • I can relate pressure, force, and area and recognize the need to do so
  • I can qualitatively reason about buoyant force using Archimedes principle
  • I use Newton’s laws to analyze the statics/dynamics of submerged objects

Proficiency Indicators

  • I can solve hydrostatic problems
7 Comments leave one →
  1. August 14, 2013 1:06 pm

    So how do you set up your gradebook with these? Do you grade both Learning and Proficiency? Do you use the same weight for each? Trying to wrap my head around this stuff. Thanks

    • August 14, 2013 1:20 pm

      Heres my plan: Developing means I can find evidence of understanding, with minus for when i can find this even amid lots of mistakes. Proficient means not only have I found isolated pieces of understanding, but those pieces came in the context of flawless execution of a problem-solving. It’s one grade in the grade book, N, D, or P. In my mind, the difference is that Developing is broken down to be useful for diagnosing and seeing what’s going well and not well.

  2. August 14, 2013 7:29 pm

    So they get a grade of either N, D, or P for each learning indicator and another N, D, or P for the proficiency indicators as well?
    Also, it seems like all of your Pro Ind are ‘solve problems involving X’. What if they can only solve 2/5 Constant Velocity problems perfectly, are really close on another but made a minor math mistake, and have no clue on the other two problems? Is that where the learning indicators come in?

    (I am new to SBG, and I am trying to get into but I am just wanting clarification)

    • August 14, 2013 8:11 pm

      This is just what I’m planning for the fall. It’s new to me as well. I’m planning to grade only the bundle as N, D, or P, not the indicators. For me, each indicator is simply a yes or no. There is evidence or there isn’t.

      Each quiz will have one complex problem to solve plus 2-3 reasoning/qualitative questions. Students can get learning indicators either through answering the 2-3 conceptual questions correctly, or even demonstrate it amid their problem-solving. A student can only be proficient on the bundle if they solved the complex problem correctly and answered all the conceptual questions correctly. If they solve the complex problem flawlessly but failed one of the questions, they’d get a P-. If they answer all the conceptual questions correctly, but make even a minor mistake on the problem that’s a D. In ideal world, students would need to demonstrate mastery several times. In my class a third party administers high stakes exams every few weeks,so I’m treating those high stakes exams as place where students must demonstrate repeated mastery to do well in the course. A proficient from me means, you did it once perfectly. But they have to do it again for another examiner.

      In my final grade book, my plan is to Ds and P-s be same value. Assessment and feedback wise they mean different things. A student with lots of D’s may make lots of sloppy errors problem solving. A student with lots of P-s may be getting by solving problems with algebra-strength, but is not understanding a few basic concepts. I slightly prioritize the problem-solving, because that is pretty much what they are expected to do on the third party exam.

      Hope this helps. For me, the idea is to give students feedback at learning indicator level, but to evaluate their understanding at a broader scale.

  3. August 24, 2013 8:51 pm

    Hey Brian. For the energy/momentum ones do you find that they are typically assessed together or that the momentum problems usually also involve energy but not vice versa? You could try dividing the set into two standards: collisions (momentum and relevant energy conservation) and energy.

    • August 24, 2013 9:06 pm

      More like, block slides down a hill, collides with another block and they both slide to rest across a rough surface.

      • August 25, 2013 3:53 am

        Ahh. The beefy momentum + energy questions. If you have lost of those, it certainly seems reasonable to bundle the two into a single standard.

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