It’s Sunday night. I need some good ideas. I know you’re reading this. I’d love your two cents before Tuesday…(after then would be useful too).
In our district we take quarterly exams which are the same at all 3 middle schools. 8th graders predominantly take Algebra 1, so there are no district assessments for 8th grade Pre-Algebra or Geometry students. These are the two classes I teach, so for this, I’m on my own (which is fine).
My Pre-Algebra students took their 1st quarter exam on Thursday and I’d like a way for them to re-engage with their mistakes. Of all my students about 5% scored below 50%, 45% scored between 50-70%, 45% scored between 70-90%, and 5% scored above 50%. I am able to scan my students’ answers into the district data-base and create wonderful reports which tell me which questions were most missed, what the most common wrong answers were, etc.
NORMALLY, I have students do a self-reflection which looks something like this:
By circling the questions they got wrong, they’re able to see which topics they need more help in. Then, sometime over the next week, I pull groups to work for 10 minutes on individual white boards. I reteach the most frequently missed concepts. Test corrections are due within a week of when they get the exam back.
BUT…here’s where I need some fresh ideas…my Pre-Algebra class is filled with students who have ALWAYS done poorly in math. They’re used to not doing well and crumpling up an exam the moment it’s returned is like a Pavlovian reaction. I’m slowly breaking them of this habit, but DISENGAGEMENT from exams is a long, slow process to undo.
My question is…how best to set up an activity for students so that they genuinely want to re-engage and learn the topics from the exam which are still challenging for them.
My idea, which needs refining (from YOU) is the following…
1) Let students know that they’ll have a change to revise their exam and raise their grade.
2) Spend a class period modeling common mistakes and having groups of students correct those mistakes. I would choose which problems to model after looking at the data analysis of their answers provided by the district. Students wouldn’t have their own exams, but we’d be doing actual problems from the exams, in groups, so they could talk through where each hypothetical student went wrong.
3) Students get their exams returned to them. At the top, I write how many errors they have, but I do not mark which questions are right or wrong. They get a specified amount of time (20 minutes or so), to go through their exam, under silent, testing conditions, to try to find their mistakes.
Please pick this idea apart…make it stronger…help me see what big ideas I’m missing.
I’d really like to TEACH these students how re-engagement with an exam is a very powerful skill which leads to deeper understanding. And I know that teaching this will be a process. I’d just like to have a clear idea about how to start…