How Not to Return A Quiz

How Not to Return a Quiz

This is how not to return a quiz.
– Walk around the room handing each student his or her quiz while everyone else is coming in or sitting down doing nothing. Even better, wait until after the class has done your opener (or “bell ringer”) and fully settled down.

– Don’t post the answers, either in class or online. That way, students will have to follow your in-class explanations to learn how to fix their mistakes.

– Go over every problem that anyone got wrong.

– When you go over a problem, make sure that you’re the one giving the explanation. If possible, give the same explanation you gave the first time. Don’t let students who got the problem right give an explanation at length, and if a student does start explaining a problem, make sure you talk over him or restate his explanation. Don’t give students who got the problem wrong the opportunity to explain their misconceptions to the rest of the class.

– After going over a problem, don’t give students an opportunity to do a similar problem. You already have an assessment of what they know and don’t need another one.
There are lots of ways to return quizzes.

Some things I’ve learned:
– Get mailboxes for your room. Use them. Put papers in them before or after school and let kids pick up their work on their way into class.

– Post or hand out solutions; don’t go over them in class. Suppose eight students got question #3 wrong. Of those eight, two have errors they can see immediately from your corrections, and don’t need further explanation. Of the other six, whatever it was that they didn’t get the first time, they’re unlikely to get by having the same explanation a second time. Either watching someone else do the problem doesn’t work for them (does it work for anyone?), or they’ve got some underlying misconception that made the first time through not so effective. Whatever the cause, it’s unrealistic to expect more than half of them to actually correct their error when you go over it. So you spend four or five minutes doing something that only benefits three students. What’s the point?

– If there’s a problem that a majority of students couldn’t do, briefly illustrate the main point or issue, then give a followup problem. Or if students got wrong answers, post some popular wrong answers and have students explain what’s wrong with them.

– Anything that’s important enough to talk about in class is important enough to re-assess, sooner rather than later.

Posted by Paul Karafiol at 10:34 PM