Last week I read an intriguing article on "Exam Debriefs" by Maryellen Weimer, PhD in the online magazine Faculty Focus. Dr. Weimer challenges instructors to make testing a learning opportunity instead of just an entry in the grade book. This is innovation at its finest. Traditionally, teachers will "go over" answers from a test/exam, either in total or only the answers missed. (How tedious it must be for the student to review things she answered correctly!) While some may have questions about the implementation; for example, how to grade both quickly and efficiently or how to keep students from cheating, the notion that learning can happen from an unlikely source (exams and tests) has merit.
DOUBLE-TAKE TEST (Feedback, Writing)
Description: Based on an article by Maryellen Weimer, PhD, a Double-Take Test allows students to correct their own tests giving them opportunities to learn material missed during study or to clear up any misunderstandings of the content. It can also be used as a measuring stick for the effectiveness of a student’s study methods.
Application: Use this two-stage testing method for multiple-choice tests in any subject.
Process: Create a multiple-choice test with a separate answer sheet. Before administering the test, decide corrections format. (Will students make corrections independently or in a group, during class time or at home?) Review the guidelines with students: 1) Read question, review answer choices, select best answer, and mark answer on both test book and answer sheet; 2) at completion, submit answer sheet and keep test book; and 3) follow format instructions and review answers in book, make corrections, and submit next class meeting. Score both test book and answer sheet awarding two points if answers to question are correct on both, one point if answer was correct on one but not the other, and no points if answers to question are incorrect on both. (If cheating is a concern, avoid “at home” corrections and provide time the next class meeting for students to make corrections.)
Weimer, Maryellen (October 19, 2016)
Feedback is one of the greatest tools a teacher can wield to help students improve, but teaching students to look at their own learning and adjust has double the power. Consider teaching students ways that they can check their work and you will give them a gift of gold! Here are two examples:
LEADER OF MY OWN LEARNING (Feedback, Discussion)
Description: Students keep track of their own learning by keeping a data record and reflecting upon it. “Research shows that when students track their own learning and data, they take ownership of their learning, have intrinsic motivation, and perform better on high-stakes tests.”- Kristine Nannini
Application: Use of a student-generated data tracker with reflection tool allows students to monitor and adjust their learning at any given time.
Process: Explain the purpose of a student data tracker and that it is not optional. At the beginning of the course, remind students to enter data as they receive grades and to comment when needed (improvement strategy or reminder to retest, etc.). To make students accountable, occasionally require students to present tracker for a graded assignment.
STEP BY STEP PROJECT CHECK (Feedback, Writing, Collaboration, Discussion)
Description: Similar to the KWL chart, this graphic organizer specifically targets steps in a process or project in a meaningful and deliberate way.
Application: Use this graphic organizer when student accountability in a multi-step process or project is desired.
Process: Hand out graphic organizer (Addendum VV) to students (individual or groups) at critical points in a project. Tell them to describe what they have accomplished thus far (discernment) and what they need to do next (prioritization). Only after the priorities list has been accomplished will they reflect on how they did it (accomplishment). Ask for students to turn in sheet and use as a formative assessment. If students are struggling with the project, direct them to review the priorities list.
The traditional high school math class can be tedious. The teacher asks students to take out their homework and then review some or all of the problems students had difficulty solving. Questions to ask the teacher: What are all the students doing who answered that particular question correctly? What if a student doesn't feel comfortable sharing he had difficulty solving the problem? What if students are delaying the lesson by seeking help with problems they know how to solve? What if the teacher is working harder to solve the problem than the students? Student accountability, engagement, and interaction with fellow students can reduce symptoms of a tedious classroom. Special thanks goes to visiting Jamaican teacher, Keno Kerr of Cross Creek Early College, for this engaging mathematics-centered protocol.
68. EVERYBODY TO THE BOARD! (Discussion, Collaboration, Writing)
Description: An adaptation of Chalk Talk, this highly engaging approach provides students not only an opportunity to be accountable as an individual learner, but also as a team.
Application: Everybody To The Board! can be used to assess student understanding, increase participation in discussions, and/or to review homework. The protocol is perfect for math but can be adapted for other subjects.
Process: Have specific problems in mind before class meets. (If using as a review of homework, ask students which problems posed difficulty.) Determine if there is enough space at the chalk/white board for every student to work at the same time. (If not, arrange for one mini white board per student.) Before using this protocol for the first time, give the following directions: 1) move to the board or get a mini white board when the teacher says, “Everybody to the board;” 2) write first name at the top of the working area; 3) listen and write the problem down underneath name or copy the projected problem (all students work on the same problem at the same time); 4) work the problem as an individual, showing steps; 5) at teacher’s signal to stop, switch places with partner, standing in front of partner’s problem; 6) study partner’s steps and answer; 7) explain the steps to the originator of the steps/solution, either agreeing with the answer or challenging the solution; and 8) repeat process with partner. At appropriate time call on a random team to share with the entire class, asking for other team’s feedback (Was the solution correct? Is there another way to reach this answer?) Direct all students to move to another location with new neighbors and repeat process with a new problem.
Keno Kerr, CCECHS
Alison Thetford, M.Ed