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Assessment / Marking Question - Testing 'learning' or 'short term memory'?

Discussion in 'Assessment' started by matt135, Jan 2, 2019.

  1. matt135

    matt135 New commenter

    Hi all,

    During the summer holidays I decided to rethink (it was needed) assessment and marking methods in my subject. After talking to a teacher form another school, I decided to 'borrow' her idea and now at the end of each lesson students answer four questions (linked to bloom's taxonomy) in their books which, after every 3rd lesson, are marked (thus 12 questions in total). I look at their other work, but unless their is a glowing error somewhere, the only work that is marked are these 12 questions. I also record a mark in my mark book which helps me when it comes to termly data input.

    To start with all was going well, as you would expect higher ability students were completing all four questions in depth and my lower ability just the first few questions or all four but in less depth. I was providing EBI's to students - mostly to revisit one question and either have a go at it or develop the answer further. But then...

    A member of SLT commented that by asking these four questions at the end of each lesson all I was doing was testing their short term memory, in fact, about 30 minutes of it. If I gave the same four questions to the students six weeks later would I get the same results? I agreed that I probably wouldn't. This has now confused me. I thought I had a system that 1) enabled me to identify understanding from that lesson 2) enable me to asses my students learning 3) reduced my marking - which it did! But now I am unsure if it is the most effective method. Am I just testing their very short team memory without really testing what they have 'learnt'?

    Am I over thinking this or should I review it? (I did think about testing them every 3rd lesson with a set of 12 questions, trouble is we don't have any lesson time to revise the things we learnt over those lessons and I think it is unfair to students to have to remember something I said in 30 seconds 3 weeks before - or more if a half term. Homework as revision is out of the window as we can only set homework 3 times a year).

    I really hope this does not sound like a 'New-Year' moan. Anyone able to lift the mist from my brain and offer some advice? Please!
  2. almostafish

    almostafish New commenter

    Why not leave a gap of a month or so and test them on the content then? They could do the same questions but much later, enabling you to test what they have remembered from previously.If concerned about remembering, let them know what you will be testing them on in advance but not set it as homework?
  3. meonsea

    meonsea New commenter

    I think you just answered your own question; don't you?
  4. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    Just mix up the questions, ask one from the lesson most recently done, one from the previous lesson, one from one a few lessons earlier, and one from last month.

    Also, I would suggest them at the start of the lesson, not the end, and correcting them then and there, so immediate feedback, and a good basis to move on with today's lesson
  5. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    The OP seems to have been quite some time ago, not quite sure why it languished unanswered for so long to suddenly reappear now, but for what it's worth....

    ...I don't think 3 or 4 Qs at the end of a lesson is particularly valuable as an assessment tool but it's probably quite valuable as a learning tool - summarising what you've learned in the last 30 minutes is probably quite helpful to many students. So I probably wouldn't give up the practice altogether, just change the way I view it - and ensure that there's also some other form of assessment going on periodically as well.

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