Test corrections

A now-retired teacher once said “I have the kids do test corrections, because I want the last time they see a concept to be right.” The challenge is – how can we have students revisit concepts in a meaningful way? What doesn’t work is to have a student take home the test, and make corrections as homework. The learning task is to re-write a multiple choice question as a full, correct statement with the ‘right answer’.

I sometimes do a two part test, and it works well. Part 1, the student writes down what they know. Part 2, the student evaluates another student’s response for accuracy, compared with a ‘guide sheet’ supplied by the teacher. Here’s how it works:

  1. Student 123 puts their student ID on their paper, not their name (so they are anonymous)
  2. The student responds to short response questions.
  3. When finished with the test, they hand the test to the teacher.
  4. The teacher waits until 3-4 students are finished with the test.
  5. Then, the teacher begins handing back tests. Student 123 gets a test completed by Student 456, and a ‘guide sheet’ (not an ‘answer key’. The guide sheet provides support information that relates to the question.)
  6. Student 123 puts their student ID at the bottom of the paper they are evaluating, to stay anonymous.
  7. The 123 is asked to make corrections to 456’s paper, based on their knowledge, and their interpretation of the guide sheet.
  8. Scoring is as follows:
  • If the student makes an accurate correction, that’s 3 bonus points added to their Part 1 score.
  • If the students marks “No correction needed”, but the response wasn’t accurate, that’s -1 point.
  • If the students makes a correction, but it was right, that’s 0 points,
  • If the student marks “No correction needed”, and they are right, that’s 1 point.

The students then turned in their evaluation of the other student’s test. I, as the teacher,

Once the students got the system, I think it was good in several ways:

  1. Students stayed anonymous
  2. Students who ‘answered’ question 1 correctly, but didn’t understand it, needed to consider what another student wrote. This is a higher level of thinking.
  3. Students immediately had the chance to reevaluate their own response, when comparing with the ‘guide sheet’. There was no need to wait until I corrected their paper.
  4. The guide sheet provided support to students who needed it, without just giving them the answer.

A drawback to this system is that the teacher must do more thinking. Also, and keeping track of the two scores on two tests is challenging. If a student finishes very fast, there’s a time lag when they eventually get a test to correct. Lastly, I’ve given student’s their own test back from time to time to correct- but kids have always brought that up to me.

Do you have a test correction strategy? Leave a comment and let me know!

-Phil

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