Day 134: Learning from Our Mistakes
Yup, today I needed to get caught up with grading. There are times when I like to grade tests, especially when I believe students know the concepts and are well practiced in the skills. I felt this way for the Two Sample Inference test I gave to my AP Stats kids.
So, some background. The previous test on One Sample Inference was particularly tough for them. Lots of types of errors as they took the test: misunderstanding vocabulary around decision errors, wrong process, incomplete condition checking, poor conclusion writing, and the biggest contributor to their poor performance – multiple choice. I find this is true every year despite tweaking, changing, overhauling the experiences every year. Still have not found the “Golden Lesson Plan” for this unit. I’m almost resigned to the fact that “mistakes lead to deeper learning.” Well, students make lots of them in this first attempt at hypothesis testing.
So in anticipation, I have a test correction opportunity ready with a large reflection component. Below are a few of my students’ reflections.
I was particularly struck by the continued reflection “I didn’t read the problem carefully” or its cousin, “I didn’t read the entire question.” Anyone with ideas about how to help students with this? I have tried to blend in practice during the unit (mostly as Openers) but I think the pressure of the test environment plays a big role.
I am always enlightened by what students say about their errors. And their reflections. They are usually honest, and as the year has progressed, they are becoming more specific and reflective about their mistakes.
How does this play into today’s post, you ask. Well, because of (I believe) my students’ reflections and corrections on the previous test, these much more challenging questions were met head-on and generally conquered by all! Sure made grading easier. I also chose to use actual AP questions this year and used the grading rubric to assess responses. I was a little more strict on certain aspects of the responses since this was not a cumulative assessment like the AP exam. But the performance by ALL of my students improved to the point of no D’s and no fails. YAY!
There is still much work to do on the Multiple Choice aspect of the test. This is where students continue to struggle. I also gave a Midterm that was 30 multiple choice questions, mostly from 3rd quarter with 5 previous semester questions sprinkled in. I used GradeCam to assess the results. It is very apparent that when we get back from break, we will be doing daily MC questions.
How do you prepare your students for multiple-choice questions? Do you have any activities or experiences or advice that would help me help my students become better MC question takers?