Friday, December 20, 2013

Borrowing Old School Lessons - Test Corrections in Flipclass - Week 14reflections

In my capacity as Department Chair, I have the wonderful opportunity to witness a variety of pedagogies and strategies. I'm so thankful to work with a group of outstanding individuals. I was recently reminded of an important metacognitive strategy I had long forgotten: test corrections. My colleague has her students fill out a sheet after exams where they identify which questions were answered incorrectly, provide an explanation of their mistake and cite the correct answer. I will definitely use this strategy because it solves two problems in my course.

The first problem that test corrections, or at least quiz corrections in my course, solve or minimize is the phenomenon of students repeating the same mistakes on future quiz attempts. I've had post quiz conferences which were eerily similar to previous ones from the same student. I have come to believe that allowing retakes without reflection encourages repeat mistakes. Why do the hard work of reflection when you are assured three attempts on a quiz? 

The second thing solved by quiz corrections is minimizing the length of post quiz conferences. Earlier in the school year, I spent so much class time conferencing after quizzes. If I have students attempt the corrections first, then the conferences should take less time; many of those conferences might only take the amount of time it takes to read the corrections. 

The first trial will be the Moodle part of the Genetics exam. In order for any student to take a second attempt, they will have to submit all outstanding work, make test corrections and write a message explaining why they should be allowed to retake that part of the exam. My rationale goes as follows. They need to submit all outstanding work because the assignments teach or reinforce the content, which should help prepare for the retake. It will also give a clearer picture of the actual grade. A student might not want to retake an exam if their grade is "high enough." The corrections will serve the function of metacognition and avoiding repeat mistakes. The mandated message is to help guard against the student who earned 97% on the exam and want to shoot for 98%. I will outrightly deny any student who can't demonstrate why they should be able to do a retake.

It's easy to get caught up in new and flashy strategies and tools like flipclass, augmented reality, and gamification but sometimes old fashioned and battle-tested techniques like test corrections can make a big difference.