I have been playing around with several ways to get students to realize why they make mistakes. I am fed up with the traditional grading process where the student completes a task and then is handed dead feedback–stuff to do the next time. In my opinion, the student needs to be the one seeing the diagnosis.
I guess you could call it “active assessment” or “confidence assessment”. My goal is to get students looking into the patterns of their mistakes and isolating skills that they need to practice.
My school has a short 35 minute period every Thursday. I decided to take this period as an assessment focus period and give a series of weekly quizzes. They are not for marks (and I am very clear on this point to my students). I have been 100% transparent with them about the purpose and goal of these formative activities.
I call them “webbed” quizzes because each question is constructed to have something in common with another question on the quiz. That way incorrect answer trends can be attributed (with reasonable accuracy) to certain, isolated skills.
For example, if question #1 and #6 both require a certain skill or concept, and both are answered incorrectly, I can then point out that pattern to the student.
I build these quizzes using a specific framework:
- Create a list of skills to be covered.
- Should include 3-6 skills
- Should be specific, measurable skills
- Pair up skills to create a question make-up
- Questions should cover two skills
- Every skill should be used at least twice
- Create questions that test specific skill combinations