discussing the test with peers, but they
resist being scored by a friend.
Testing activities can become
learning activities when students
are informed partners.
answer key and presents it to the class.
For open questions, the group writes a
“best sample” response. If necessary, the
teacher provides further explanations
and makes corrections. Together, the
whole class comes up with an answer
key, which is put on the board.
Step 4. Each student corrects his or
her own test, using a pen of a color
different from the one used to take the
test. The point value for each test item is
written on the test paper, the student-developed key is displayed on the
board, and examples of good open
answers are provided. The student has
all the information needed to act as an
Step 5. Each student writes the score
he or she believes is appropriate on the
test paper and returns it to the teacher.
Because students know that the teacher
has already scored the tests, they are
unlikely to award themselves a score
they do not deserve.
Step 6. After seeing the marks the
students give themselves, the teacher
calculates the final score for each learner
by averaging the student and teacher
scores. If there is a discrepancy of more
than 10 percent, the teacher should
meet with the student to clarify any
disagreement. In my experience, the
teacher score is usually the higher of the
two scores, and discrepancies of more
than 10 percent are rare.
In the beginning, I asked students to
score one another’s tests, but they did
not feel comfortable correcting peers’
work, and they did not like peers seeing
their personal strengths and weaknesses. Students are happy to ask one
another questions and benefit from
Learning from Testing
Testing activities can become learning
activities when students are informed
partners in assessment processes, a
strategy whose effectiveness is documented in research (Hattie, 2009). If we
accept that assessment is for learning
and not merely for selection and decision making, we must seek out and
apply such strategies.
© JOHN BOOZ
This kind of student and teacher partnership can make tests a means through
which both the fact-oriented Marys and
the discussion-loving Nathans can share
what they’ve learned and grow in their
areas of weakness. Why not give them
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Hattie, J. A. (2009). Visible learning: A
synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses related
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Popham, W. J. (1995). Classroom assessment:
What teachers need to know. Ohio: Allyn
Sadler, D. R. (1987). Specifying and promulgating achievement standards. Oxford
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Sadler, D. R. (1998). Formative assessment:
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Kari Smith is Professor of Teacher
Education at the University of Bergen in