Teaching students to do test corrections doesn’t have to be time consuming or result in a paper pile! **Test corrections are actually one of my favorite tools for pushing students and measuring their progress. **

Giving math tests can be equally rewarding and frustrating. As a teacher, you can see what skills your students really understood and what skills *you thought* your students understood.

**I try to remind myself that the test is not the end goal, my students learning and preparedness for the next grade level is the end goal. ** So what do you do when you have students who bomb a unit test?

# Test Corrections as a Tool for Mastery

## Test Corrections vs. Retaking the Test

Test corrections have to happen before students retake a test. I have fallen into the trap of allowing students retake a test only for them to do the exact same or worse.

**If they didn’t master the material the first time, they will not master it the second time unless you provide additional tutoring and practice. ** I actually do not provide retake opportunities, as it is too much for me to organize and keep up with. Instead, shortly after students have taken a test, I spend a day in class going over corrections.

My school uses a website (Illuminate) that allows me to see what percent of students mastered each skill, and it allows me to see what percent of students answered each question correctly.** I use this information to guide my teaching as I decide which questions I need to go over whole group before students make corrections. **

If your school doesn’t have a data system available, ZipGrade is an excellent tool for creating your own scantrons. Plus, it will disaggregate the data for you and provide an item analysis.

## Model How to Correct Test Questions

When you model how you would like students to correct their test questions, you will receive far superior results or work. When I go over the most missed problem whole group, I provided an incorrect student example for the class to discuss the error that was made.

**I then model exactly how their corrections should look to avoid many students just circling another answer choice and writing down that the mistake they made was that they guessed.** I utilize the handful of 100s and As as student teachers, so they can help struggling students.

## Utilizing a skill Analysis

I shared about utilizing test analysis and reflection in this post. But, before we correct our tests, I have students complete a test analysis. (The test analysis that is pictured was for a STAAR benchmark, so it is about 4 times longer than a typically unit test).

I categorize each test question into the skill that it covers, and students color in the test question box based on whether they got it correct or incorrect. **It provides a visual for students and the teacher to see which skill they need to work on.** Students save the skills in which they did the best for independent practice.

For the group work portion of class, they can utilize a partner or a student teacher for help on the skills that they missed a significant amount of problems. A rock star teacher at my school has students complete stations where students go see each student teacher (who has become an expert in one skill) to correct their test.

Additionally, I think that it is important for students to set goals and analyze why they missed problems on a test.

- Did they make calculation errors?
- Did they solve using the wrong operation?
- Are they studying?
- Are they paying attention in class?
- Are they asking questions when they don’t understand?

I also have students complete a reflection where they identify what behavior needs to change for them to improve on the next test.

## Reassessing the same skills

Like I said before, I don’t offer retake opportunities. I will give points back on their test for quality corrections and reflections.

You might think that fosters an environment where students don’t really care about doing well on tests and won’t study. **However, in my experience, students who really need points for a better grade are not students who will try harder next time if they fail this time.** They will be disappointed in their grade and their progress in math mastery will dissipate as they have not been successful.

I do, however, like to continuing spiral material that we have learned in the past. I remind students that they will see similar test questions on future test or quizzes.

This will help me make sure students are retaining what they have learned, and it allows me to see if students who did not previously master a skill were able to after corrections and additional practice.

When I was in school, tests were all about grades and making my mom and dad proud. Now as a teacher, I have a completely different outlook of what tests should and shouldn’t be. I am curious: how do students complete test corrections in your classroom?

Jennifer Alexander says

Like you, I love test corrections. Out of curiosity do you provide students credit back for completing test corrections – if so, partial or whole? I offer full credit back, but I have them doing extra work to earn their credit back, in comparison. For me, they show the correct way to solve the problem, like your form does, but they also have to explicitly state how to solve the problem. I tell that I should be able to hide their work and be able to follow their written instructions and reproduce the work exactly. What I would love to add is your item analysis along with it. I’m going to have to think about how to do that.

Noelle Pickering says

Great idea, thank you for sharing! Yes, I offered half-points back.

Stacey says

This may be a good practice for Jr high but I prefer quiz corrections for high school. High school students learn to depend on corrections for passing tests. I don’t think that finding your mistakes should wait until you take a class so I offer quiz corrections and then retesting. I review constantly to give them the opportunity to learn the material.

Noelle Pickering says

Hi Stacey! It sounds like you have a great system for your high school students. Thanks so much for sharing!

Beth says

I return quizzes without grades with the mistake highlighted. I give kids 10 minutes of no talking to see if they can figure out their mistake. I have an extension activity for my 100% kids, who I use as “teachers” in phase two. After the 10 minute, I allow for help but only in the form of a question. I don t want kids to just correct however learn from the mistake. Usually this is enough to make corrections then the quizzes are returned to me. I have a form that students fill out that is reflective of the error.

Noelle Pickering says

I love this idea! Thank you for sharing!