#37 The score you get is when you make your first mistake
An idea to improve effort and engagement when working through exam papers
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💡 A quick tip to try in class this week 💡
I have written previously about how our good friend, the mini-whiteboard, can improve the process of going through the answers to a test. But what about improving the effectiveness of students doing the test in the first place?
A thing many students do in practice terminal assessments, like SATs, GCSEs or A Levels, is to rush through the first so-called easy questions, and as a result, end up making daft mistakes that could cost them a level or a grade. The obvious solution to this is to tell students to be careful and check your work, but there are few phrases that students pay as little attention to as those.
Here is a more effective approach. Tell students that the score they get in the assessment will be the number of marks up to their first mistake. So, if a student gets 15 marks on the paper before making a slip, they score 15. But if their mate makes a careless slip on question 1 - even if they then get everything else correct - they score 0.
Here are a few things to consider:
What do you do if a student leaves out a question? Personally, I count that as a dropped mark, but you may decide otherwise
This approach may feel a little unfair, so do you give students two scores - their “first mistake” score, and their actual score?
This approach obviously works best for assessments that generally increase in difficulty as the assessment progresses. It does not work when Question 1 is a stinker!
What do you think?
What would you need to change to make this tip work for you?
When could you try it for the first time?
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