Thursday, April 11, 2013

Using Tests as a Teaching Tool

Tests should be used as teaching tools. They should not be administered, graded, and then put away. Students should be able to dissect the test and learn from it. Yes, this does not happen with standardized tests, but a classroom is a place of learning. In my classroom students see their tests and review them to learn from their mistakes.

I took our last assessment and tore it apart based on the data results from my students. On the cover of the test, I wrote out the steps that I use to review the test with students. I wrote out the steps for one of the instructional assistants at my school so that when she comes in my room to help students she and I can be on the same page regarding instruction. I know what I am doing, but I want her to be familiar with my process.

I set up work stations in my classroom. I wrote the students' names that we are working with on index cards. I am working with the neediest students and my assistant is working with the midlevel students who need some practice with strategies to give them that boost to be on grade level. I also placed a basket of sticky notes, pencils, and pens (students think work is so much more fun with pens, right?).
Beside each question in the test I wrote the percentage correct that each of my blocks earned. This lets me know on which questions I need to spend more time. If both blocks scored poorly, then I need to do a whole class reteach. I also mark which answer most students selected to help me understand why they struggled with that particular question. Finally, I write notes to myself about teaching points.

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