Virtual Conference on Soft Skills
Remediation After Assessment
“I’ll present how to graph quadratic equations tomorrow, Mrs. C. I just nailed it on the assessment.” This is music to my ears. I used to dread the day after an assessment (or test for those of you who are not on the SBG bandwagon). I would hand the assessment back to the students and would proceed to go over the most missed problems or any gaps in learning the assessments revealed. I asked another teacher how she went over tests with her students and her reply was, “I don’t. If the students didn’t get it, too bad; we are moving on.” (Ok, maybe it wasn’t that negative, but it sounded like that to me.)
My classroom was not much better. While I stood at the front of the classroom working problems from the assessment, some of the students put their heads down totally discouraged that they failed or nearly failed several of the assessments. Those who performed perfectly, picked up a book (non math) and proceeded reading. I felt like it was the most wasted 20 – 30 minutes of my week.
This year I implemented sessions. The day after an assessment, I approach the students who mastered certain topics and ask him or her to present one of the sessions that day. I arrange the classroom differently on session day, placing the desks in small groups or pods. The groups are labeled with the topics from the previous day’s assessment. For example, the groups might be labeled as follows:
- Graphing Quadratic Equations
- Factoring Trinomials
- Solving Quadratic Equations Using the Quadratic Formula
I may even add in a topic from a previous assessment if several of the students still need to retest or display competency on it. This alleviates the demand for tutoring outside of school for me and helps those students who can’t come in early or stay late.
As the students are walking into the classroom, I will hand their assessments back to them and tell them to join a session. If a student did well on all of the topics, I ask them to join the group they can provide the most help in. I often hand an assessment back to a student and say, “You need to attend the session on graphing.” It is not a choice for them. The students who did the best on the assessments are the presenters. They go over the problems from the previous day’s assessment and another example I provide them with. I prepare these on notecards ahead of time. The students are required to pose all of their questions to the presenters. I am only a facilitator and make sure all groups are on task and try not to get involved in any one session. Students are free to move to another session once he or she has mastered that topic. Sessions last a total of 15 minutes. This means students must work together quickly.
My students love session day. They are so proud to be asked to be one of the presenters. I have students who have never studied for a test prepare for the assessments so they can be a presenter. It is interesting to see different methods to solve the same problems come out in the groups. Students who are often shy or quiet in class will speak and share in a session.
One of the things that shocked me most in teaching is that the students in my classroom do not always know each other. They may go the entire year and never speak to the person sitting next to them. These sessions alleviate that problem and force them to interact in a safe environment.