Learning, Innovation & Tech

Bombs & Breakthroughs

The Flipped Class: Show Me the Data!

CJ Westerberg, November 6, 2011 1:26 AM


(Ed. Note: If you are unfamiliar with the "flipped class," check out the links below this post, or
read Stacey Roshan's first post about this controversial topic, "Private School Math Teacher Flips Learning." as an introduction - this is essentially Part 2 of Roshan's journey)

"As a teacher, 
I hate to use only data.
As a math teacher, I similarly dislike to suggest any cause-effect relationships.  But everyone is interested in data, so here it is.
-private school teacher Stacey Roshan

Changing the Class Experience

by Stacey Roshan
Bullis School

A whole academic year of AP Calculus and not one day did students have to sit through
a traditional lecture.  The experience was not only enjoyable, but I am fairly confident to
say that my students learned better.  That, to me, is what "the flipped class" or "the
backwards class" helped make happen.

My initial goal, which was to create a less anxiety-ridden learning environment was most definitely accomplished.  All-in-all, teaching AP Calculus this year "backwards" was nothing short of a fantastic experience.

"Ultimately, in teaching, there is no one size fits all. 
You, as a teacher, must do
what is best for YOUR set of students."

I will start with the data, comparing last year to this year.  As a teacher, I hate to use only data.  As a math teacher, I similarly dislike to suggest any cause-effect relationships.  But everyone
is interested in data, so here it is.  The reason why I am doing this is for people to understand that the reverse class is not just some trendy term or pedagogy.  I will start with classroom performance:

During the 2009-10 academic year, I had 17 students vs. 10 students this academic year (though one of my top student was unfortunately not able to take the AP exam).  Grades were HIGHER this year in all three trimesters, 2%, 3%, and 4%, respectively.  So not only was there an increase in grades from last year to this one, but there was also a trend upwards this year (perhaps there was some learning curve to getting used to the format of the class and the
video lectures).

And then comes the all-important AP Exam results:

Year             5              4             3              2             1            Average Score

2009-10     23.53%    35.29%    23.53%    11.76%    5.88%       3.59
2010-11     33.33%    44.44%    22.22%          0%         0%        4.11

The AP Exam results were truly a fantastic way to wrap up an amazing year.  But the best part of the year were not the AP Exam results.   

In the 2009-10 academic year, I would walk into the classroom and sense anxiety running high.  This is not a pleasant environment for a teacher to have to witness.  I was able to get through all of the material without issue, but class time never felt long enough.  I felt that I never got to hear from my students because they were trying their best to digest the newly presented material.  We just did not have the time to engage in the thoughtful discussion that is one of the biggest perks about teaching advanced level courses.

Jump to this year of the "reverse" or flipped class.  Students watched the lectures at home and came to class prepared to discuss and work problems. I got to listen to them instead of doing the talking during class time. I spent class walking around the room, observing.  I realized that students were teaching one another instead of me having to do the majority of in-class instruction.  

My students were becoming independent learners - a pleasant side effect of the experience. I must emphasize that flipping my classroom was not about creating more
work for my students.  It was about changing the type of work that they did at home
and changing the class experience.  Remember, my goal was to reduce anxiety,
not create more of it!

Ultimately, I would say that flipping my AP Calculus AB course this year was a fantastic experience.  Will I do it again next year?  Certainly.  Will I make some changes?  Of course,
I am always trying to improve.  Would I recommend this classroom format for everyone? 
No.  Why?

Ultimately, in teaching, there is no one size fits all.  You, as a teacher, must do what is best for YOUR set of students.  Personally, after the 2009-10 academic year, I asked myself what I wished was different about my classroom and then thought about how technology could help make it better.  That is what the flip was all about for me. 

And so far, so good . . .
Originally published The Daily Riff August 2011

Stacey Roshan's videos on Screencast
Stacey Roshan's videos in iTunes (not all videos stored)
Email: stacey_roshan@bullis.org
Twitter: twitter.com/buddyxo

Related Posts The Daily Riff:

How the Flipped Classroom is Radically Transforming Learning by Jon Bergmann

The Flipped Class: Myths vs. Reality by Jon Bergmann, Jerry Overmyer and Brett Willie

 Are You Ready to Flip?  by Dan Spencer, Deb Wolf and Aaron Sams

  The Flipped Class Revealed:  What Does a Good One Look Like 
             by Jon Bergmann, Jerry Overmyer and Brett Wilie

Teachers Doing the Flip to Help Students Become Learners

Private School Math Teacher Flips Learning by Stacey Roshan

  • Stacey Roshan

    Thank you so much! Please let the teachers at your school know that they are free to use my videos if they find them helpful to get started with things.


  • Great post, thanks for sharing! I'll be sharing this with others thinking about the flip in my school.

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