Math Mondays: Assessment Corrections for Mastery

Some colleagues and I recently discussed the value of having students complete test corrections or really corrections on any assessment.  Let's face it -  corrections are extra work not only for students but also for teachers.  It's just one more thing I have to evaluate.  

Still, there is real value in students correcting their errors, AND it can  be manageable.

Students miss questions because: 
  • they rush
  • they misread or misunderstand the question
  • they don't understand how to do the problem
  • they make careless mistakes. 

Mistakes are common, even for the best of the best.  Remember, the Challenger disaster?  In one Congressional hearing, Caltech scientist Richard Feynman demonstrated that a miscalculation on the temperature capacity of O-rings led to the destruction of the shuttle.  

Sometimes it is in the mistakes that we do the most learning.  So, it is of value not to "go over" the test question by question but to give students the opportunity to correct errors and turn them in for credit.  

Students have an opportunity to:
  • Master the material by reviewing the concepts
  • Learn to pay attention to details 
  • Reflect on what is being asked for. 

To make test corrections manageable, give parameters and stick to them.  Here are mine:
  • Students have 2 days to turn in test corrections. 
  • If a student needs help, it is on them to seek it from me or others. 
  • Students need to show what the error was, explain why this was an error, and show the correct solution with steps. 
  • For each correction students get half credit for the question.  If the question was worth 4 points they can earn 2 points.
  • Test corrections are REQUIRED.
Remember that the goal is not a grade.  The goal is for students to learn and master the content or skills.  

Math Mondays is a bi-weekly blog post (2nd and 4th Monday of each month) sharing tips, ideas, resources, and products for teaching math.  If you have questions or think there is something I should include, you can leave me a message in the comments section below or at the store in the question and answer section.



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