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Using AFL/SBL to Analyze a Common Assessment Practice: Earning Back Points on a Test

Use your knowledge of Assessment FOR Learning and Standards Based Learning to analyze the following very traditional assessment practice.  Discuss your analysis with your group and leave your thoughts as replies to this discussion.


After her students take a major unit test, a teacher allows her students to write correct answers to the questions they missed. After they turn in these test corrections, the students will earn back 50% of the points they missed on the test.

Some possible topics to consider/discuss: 

  1. How is/isn't this practice in line with the concept of assessment being for the purpose of increasing learning?  Does it increase learning? Could it be improved?
  2. How does this practice impact the desired outcome of learning being elevated over grading?
  3. What is the value of the feedback students receive from this activity?
  4. What do you see as "pros" of this activity?  What do you see as "cons"?

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At our table we feel this could have a better construction.  An alternate assessment for standards not met would be better.

Frankly, I see this effort as a way to artificially inflate grades and show little to nothing about student learning. It does become a numbers game when students realize that nothing really urges them to learn the material in the first place. If they can raise their grades from, say, a D to a B by simply paying attention to the correct answers after the fact, then nothing compels them to learn anything but the right answers. There is no application, no synthesis -- nothing that speaks to me of real learning. 

1. Since all students can write the corrections and earn extra points, the teacher does not get a true picture of student learning and specific obstacles to their learning. It does help them be better prepared if they were to see that particular question again. It only increases learning for that specific question, but doesn't go "deep" enough for the student to reason it out on their own. Of course it could be improved by the teacher covering the material later and in different ways (looping) for student understanding. What teachers and students should be moving toward is the mastery of the material not the grade for the class.

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