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Monday, November 15, 2010

Interactive Monday -- Check your work

This is always a sore point for us teachers every year -- how to get the kids to actually check their work after a test. They know they're supposed to. They know that they should. They just don't want to. It's a lot like getting them to SHOW their work at the beginning of the year, but the struggle lasts a lot longer.

Before we take a test, I always ask the kids, "And what do you do when you're finished?" And they all respond, in full-on zombie mode, "Check your work." All this means to them is that when they raise their hand to tell me that they are done, that they need to add the phrase, "and I checked it,"-- in much the same way they feel the need to cover their nose with both hands when asking for a kleenex, or start doing the pee pee dance when asking to use the restroom.

This past week, I had kids insisting that they had checked their work carefully, yet when I glanced at it, not only were blatant errors obvious, but in some cases, there were whole problems that had not even been done!!

I'm tempted to tell the kid that Stevie Wonder could have done a better job of checking this test -- but then I realize that these kids have no idea who Stevie Wonder is.

Anyway, I'm trying something new this week. I have graded their tests from Friday, but I haven't put any marks on it. I am going to give the tests back to the kids and tell them that there are mistakes. I will not tell them which problems they got wrong. They are responsible for checking carefully and finding those mistakes, and then circling the problem number that they corrected.

It should be very interesting to see what this experiment yields. My HOPE is that the kids will find their mistakes and realize that this is what checking your work is really all about -- finding the mistakes and fixing them BEFORE turning the test in to be graded.

My FEAR is that I will get papers back where the student has changed a formerly correct answer to an incorrect one.

So my question to you is, what do YOU do to convince your kids to check their work carefully?


loonyhiker said...

I used to make my students show me the work on how they checked their work or I wouldn't accept the paper. ( ex. 12+5=17 then 17-5=12) If it was an open book test, I made them write the page numbers down where the answer was. They hated it but soon got used to it.

Mister Teacher said...

Yes, I ALWAYS make them check addition or subtraction by performing the inverse operation. But then they make goofy mistakes like writing 23, when the word problem said 28, or putting 54 on the answer line when their computations clearly yielded 107...

Anonymous said...

We use a "Check List" at the end of every test. Students must go through the list and check off every item before they are allowed to hand it in. It just reminds them to check it over. Our latest test's was:
Your name is on the test.
All multiple choice and matching answers are clearly written in capital letters.
Re-read all answers to check for reasonableness (Do your answers make sense?).
All short answer questions are answered in full sentences.

I hope it helps!