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A test about testing: Let´s see how you score!

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We tend to correct mistakes, we tend to tell our students what they can improve, but we don´t normally tell them what they´ve done well. Let´s reflect on our assessment and on the feedback we give to our students.

There are several questions that we can ask ourselves when correcting and marking an activity. Test yourself and check your final score:

1. Is it necessary to correct every single mistake? (YES 0 points/ NO 1 point)

Mostly when marking a written activity, we tend to underline or cross out every mistake our students make.

However, there are some teachers that defend that it is better to limit our corrections, that is: if a student makes a lot of mistakes, it is better to point out just the most important ones because, too many would make it impossible for them to acquire all the new knowledge we are presenting to them through our corrections.

What kind of teacher are you?  Do you prefer to point out every single mistake or just the most important ones?

After answering that question perhaps you can ask yourself another one: do you assess your students in the same way when they are doing an oral activity or when they are doing a written one?

2. Do we tend to be more demanding and rigorous with written activities? (YES 1 point, it is important to tell the truth/ NO 0 points)

Maybe because an oral activity is a synchronous exercise, we tend to let the student talk without interruptions. Perhaps it´s time to consider a new approach. Maybe we should be less rigorous with written work, I don´t know, what do you think?

Or, as we can now record oral activities, perhaps we should aim for more specific corrections of oral exercises.

3. Do you point out the positive aspects of your students´ activities? (YES 1 point/ NO 0 points)

It could be a good practise, for us, to include a paragraph focusing on their strongest points, let´s be positive and assume that there is always one, at least.

We could have a paragraph, such as: “Apart from those mistakes, I would like to point out that your usage of the third person singular has improved and the theme of your writing is really interesting, congratulations!”

The next question relates to how you assess:

4. Do you correct your students´ mistakes or do you just underline them or use a code to enable them to have a second chance to find the mistakes by themselves? (CORRECT 0 points/ CODE 1 point)

If you give your students a second chance to try to discover by themselves what is wrong in a sentence or in a word, it´s possible that they will be able to do so, maybe alone, maybe in groups. It could be a kind of self-assessment or peer assessment. If they can correct their own work successfully they are less likely to make the same mistake again in the future. And with that theme in mind:

5. Do you let your students to correct each other´ work? (YES 1 point / NO 0 points)

Peer evaluation could also be a very good tool for the development of their metacognition. And remember that they normally love marking each other´s work.

6. Do you use stickers or badges to motivate your students in their learning? (YES 1 point/ NO 0 points)

You can gamify your classes and you can even personalize your corrections with your own avatars or emojis with different faces, for instance. That could be very motivating for your students.

7. Do you use digital tools for continuous assessment? (YES 1 point/ NO 0 points)

Whilst not essential, digital tools can be very useful for assessing, mostly in a playful way, for instance using tools such as Kahoot, Mentimeter, Socrative, Topgrade, Kubbu, among many others. Some of them can be “played” during the lesson and others be completed at home.

Results

If you have achieved four or more points, I really think you are doing a great job with your assessment, congratulations!

if you got fewer than four points, try making some changes but keep on trusting to yourself, first of all you have to be comfortable with your classes and with the way you teach.

Whether you like this article or you don´t, please, just tell me the good points of it. Assess it in a positive way.

Ingrid Mosquera, Ph.D.

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