I was lucky enough to take part in a workshop run by Alan November this week. As always his ideas were useful and thought provoking. One of the most interesting ones was about testing in the classroom. Or more specifically about taking tests in three rounds, so that the assessment task becomes a springboard into learning. With the third round being a thought provoking creative task. As soon as I heard him put forward this idea I knew it was something I could apply in my maths lessons.

Round One: Everyone individually takes a test that is required to assess learning.

Round Two: Immediately students are placed into groups of four of five and in these small groups they take the same test again. While they work together on the test, they will be discussing, collaborating and arguing over the correct answers. And the teacher can walk around the classroom listening to who is most involved and who’s reasoning makes the most sense. It is important for the team to do well in this round because their final test scores become the average of round one and round two.

Round Three: In the same teams the students must now design a new problem that will apply the learning they were assessed on. By applying their learning they will be extending it even further, allowing them to really own their own learning and to be creative as well.

I had the chance to talk with Alan further on these ideas and I asked what he would recommend one did with students who were reluctant to participate. He stated that obviously the groups makeup was paramount to success. That he recommended that these groups were often changed and that if a student still refused to contribute then their results would need to be defined by their scores in the first test only.

I can’t wait to try this idea out in my classroom. What do you think?

We think this is a great idea. What do you think? Do you think that we could improve the learning in Year 6 if we collaborated in this way to assist and learn from each other and then were creative in our new question design?