Over the past year, I've been moving away from the old testing methods to one that has students working together on a test. You might wonder why? I'm finding it allows students to learn more of the material before we move on. It also fosters collaboration, and communication.
It is well known that many students know the material but when they have to take a "Test" alone, they panic and often forget much of the material. The grade does not always represent their knowledge.
If students are allowed to work together on a test, it cuts down on their anxiety. In addition, a well written test can foster collaboration and communication.
Furthermore, students who work together on a test often implement peer tutoring to help each other because one explains to the other how to do something or why their way is wrong.
I have used two different types of partner tests. The first is where the tests have different problems but they share the same answer. This does not work as well when you do factoring or other where there really is only one answer. It works for solving one and multi-step equations, finding slope, etc.
On this type of test, I tell them if they get the same answer, chances are they are correct, otherwise it is a good idea to check their work because one or both might be wrong.
The other type of test is where I allow both students to work together. I try to pair students who will both work on the problem even if one is better at solving it. I do not pair students where I know one will only copy the work.
When I use the second type of test, I expect both people to show their work on their own paper but I never give partial credit on this one. The answer is right or wrong since two people are working together.
I noticed in my class with lower performing students, many of them got the hang of linear interpolation when before they struggled with it. I allowed them to use their notes to help them figure out the next step. The serious ones utilized the opportunity to help them.
I realize testing is a form of assessment but I don't see why we can't use it as a way to promote learning. I hate regular tests because I'm the one who freezes, even when I know the material.
Let me know what you think! I'd love to know what you think.