exam debrief

post-exam-review

Post-Exam Review Activity

Students correct missed questions on their exams and reflect on the reasons why the questions were missed. They examine their study strategies and exam preparation behaviors and then propose what they should do differently to improve the outcome on the next exam.

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postexam review assignment

An Innovative Postexam Review Activity

We need to work more with students on seeing exams as something more than just grade generating experiences. Exams can be powerful encounters through which students learn course content and learn about learning. However, given the importance placed on grades, I’m not terribly optimistic about

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group of students taking exam

Does the Strategy Work? A Look at Exam Wrappers

For many faculty, adding a new teaching strategy to our repertoire goes something like this. We hear about an approach or technique that sounds like a good idea. It addresses a specific instructional challenge or issue we’re having. It’s a unique fix, something new, a

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Professor in front of class.

Getting More out of Exam Debriefs

Brief—that pretty much describes exam debriefs in many courses. The teacher goes over the most commonly missed questions, and the students can ask about answers but generally don’t. These kinds of debriefs don’t take up a lot of class time, but that’s about all that

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students taking a test

Is It Time to Rethink Our Exams?

I’ve been ruminating lately about tests and wondering if our thinking about them hasn’t gotten into something of a rut. We give exams for two reasons. First, we use exams to assess the degree to which students have mastered the content and skills of the

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Editor's note: The following article is part of an ongoing resource collection called Assignments of Note, in which we showcase innovative assignments featured in scholarly articles.

The assignment

Andaya, G., Hrabak, V. D., Reyes, S. T., Diaz, R. E., & McDonald, K. K. (2017). Examining the effectiveness of a postexam review activity to promote self-regulation in introductory biology students. Journal of College Science Teaching, 46(4), 84–92.

Dang, N. V., Chiang, J. C., Brown, H. M., & McDonald, K. K. (2018). Curricular activities that promote cognitive skills impact lower-performing students in an introductory biology course. Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education, 19(1), 1–9. http://doi.org/10.1128/jmbe.v19i1.1324 [open access]

Brief description

Students correct missed questions on their exams and reflect on the reasons why the questions were missed. They examine their study strategies and exam preparation behaviors and then propose what they should do differently to improve the outcome on the next exam.

Problems the assignment addresses

Learning skills the assignment promotes

Details and logistics

The post-exam review assignment has three parts: (1) students provide the correct answers for questions missed, identifying where they found the correct answer. They explain why their incorrect choice is not correct. From a list of possible explanations, they identify the reason they missed the question. (2) From a list of 16 study tools, students identify the ones they used and assess how useful those strategies were. (3) Students respond to two open-ended questions: whether their grade accurately reflects what they knew for the exam, and what they propose to do to improve their learning before the next exam.

Students complete this exam review activity after each of the three main exams in the course with the assignment allowing more flexibility after the second and third exams.

Grading

The assignment is a course requirement and each post-exam review is worth up to 10 points.

Evidence of the assignment’s effectiveness

This assignment is one of several used in the course, all of which were assessed via several different empirical methods fully described in Dang et al. (2018): “Our observations are promising and suggest that curricular activities designed to promote metacognition do indeed help students improve their self-evaluation skills and may preferentially help lower-performing students” (p. 8).

Resources included in the article

Appendices in Dang et al. (2018), accessible through electronic links, include a variety of materials relevant to this assignment.