I have a confession … my students haven’t been performing well on tests. It’s the beginning of the school year and the coursework will not get any easier. So, what am I to do? I have to allow students to retake the test, but I also have to reteach the skills. But, I am perplexed about how to reteach the skills when I presented the content using various modalities and I catered to students learning styles by allowing them choice in how they demonstrated their learning. So, I had to dig deeper. I had to think about the changes that had to occur before students took the test again. Thus, I examined my students’ data and I noticed the following:
- Successful students develop their vocabulary. My students with the higher test scores submit a weekly Frayer Vocabulary Chart for the words they should know for the standard. Not only do they submit the chart, but they thoroughly and accurately analyze the terms. Thus, they are better at interpreting test questions and understanding the terminology used on tests.
- Successful students reflect. They think about their thinking (metacognition). My students who tend to score higher on tests are reflective. They thoroughly complete the Week in Review, which requires them to consider the standards and to deliberate about what they learned. Furthermore, they have to demonstrate that they can apply what they learned from the week’s activities to the real world.
- Successful students have parents who are engaged. My students who are more successful on tests have parents who are actively involved in their education. They respond to my communication, and they also initiate communication with me. Additionally, they work with their children at home to complete homework and study for tests.
So, I drafted a Retake Test Contract, which requires students to exhibit the behaviors of successful students. Let me know what you think.
When I shared the contract with my students, some of them felt that was too much to do, while others were glad to get the opportunity to improve. Those who were grateful for the second opportunity wanted to do better, but they didn’t know how. The contract showed them how the assignments were connected and designed to make them successful. I will update you after the first retake test.