Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Review for a Test with a Fake Test

One idea that's mentioned but not fully explored in Ten Cheap Lessons is creating a fake test as a review tool.  Essentially you take a set of problems similar to what will be on your test and work them out   incorrectly, purposely making the kinds of mistakes you've seen your students making over and over again.  Your students basically become the teacher, finding the error(s) and the correct answer.

In previous years I've went overboard trying to make this "test" seem authentic, but this year I decided to just be honest and direct.  "All of these problems were solved incorrectly.  All of the answers are wrong," I told them.  "These are the mistakes I've been seeing too many of you continue to make, and I don't want you to make them again on the test."  If you've been reviewing something for what seems like forever, or you simplify have a stale routine, this is an easy way to shake things up.

In the example below (which my students worked on yesterday), you'll see the key mistakes circled along with the correct answer in red.  The student version had no such marks (there was another side to this page as well that I chose not to include).  

Share your versions of this kind of review assignment (along with any other creative ideas you have) in the comments.