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Feb 11, 2013

5 Steps to Change Testing And Get Amazing Results

How do we making testing (even unit tests) a growth and learning experience, instead of just an exercise that frustrates kids and takes up time? Here is one thing that I do. I saw it from my amazing mentor when I was student teaching, and have since modified it for my own use, but I think you will be amazed at the results.  Here is what I do.  I don't do it too early in the year, as kids have to learn procedures and expectations/testing behavior, etc.  I also don't do it all the time.
  • On the day of a chapter test or unit test, treat it just like a regular test.  Make them put everything away and work quietly on their own to take the test. 
  • After some time (anywhere from 10-15 minutes, or as the first 1-2 people finish). Usually I like to shoot for when most kids are maybe 2/3 of the way through.
  • Have them work with a partner (either they pick or I pick - depends on the class). 
  • They need to go through their test, with a partner, and agree on their answers.  No copying.  As you walk around they must be discussing their answers if they have different answers, and why they think that's the best answer.  
  • Sometimes I leave it at that.  Sometimes I have a group where I really give them a new answer sheet, and that's what they turn in. 
Why do I do it?  Because as you walk around, you will hear kids having those valuable conversations that don't happen as well under other conditions. They take it very seriously because its for a test grade, and they listen to each other.  You hear kids saying "But it says NOT"  "what does this word mean?  Oh...."  "remember when we did this in class...."  "I think its this because I remember"  

Also, its cuts down the number of kids who just randomly guess, quickly pick answers, or leave blanks down almost to zero.  Maybe you don't have those kids.  I always have.  They get an extra scaffold as they really work through the test questions, and they look closely at the language and choices in a way they don't usually. It also gives them a lot more confidence to work with a partner.  

Try it. If you do, please let me know how it goes :) 

1 comment :

  1. Oh! I hope you delete the above comment! I LOATHE spammers!!!

    But I do so love this idea and I am totally stealing it. This is a wonderful idea!! It's one of those "Huh. Why didn't I think of that?!" ideas. I love it. Thanks so much for sharing.

    ReplyDelete

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