Test Corrections are the Answer to Better Grades

Adam Steiner, Editor-in-Chief

The old method of testing is not working; giving students a test (which some undoubtedly fail), and then not going over the content on it again afterwards helps no one; if student didn’t know it when they took the test, they aren’t going to magically know it after they fail.

However, math teacher Timothy Johanning does things a bit differently than the rest of the crowd when it comes to testing his Advanced Placement (AP) calculus class.

Johanning gives his calculus students tests like any other teacher does; however, he offers the students a chance to get half of the points back that they lost on the test if they stay after school to correct their tests.

In doing this, Johanning ensures that even after the test passes, students still gain the skills that they need for the AP exam.

He also requires that for every one point earned back on the test, the student has to stay after school for five minutes of tutoring. This additional requirement helps to keep students on par with curriculum, and it stops them from falling behind on every test that they take.

This method of test delivery also helps to encourage students to do better; no longer does a failed test look so ominous; now, you can do your test corrections and end up with a ‘C’.

Personally, I typically get around 50-60 percent on tests, and then with test corrections I get anywhere from a high ‘C’ to a low ‘B’.

I feel as if this would also allow for students to score better on standardized tests, as well. The way the current system is designed, we visit a topic, and you have two options: understand the content or don’t.

If you fail to understand the content, then you are up the creek without a paddle.

With this developing system, students who were once left behind to figure things out for themselves after the test passes are given a chance to learn the content and receive credit for doing so.

When students go for test corrections, they are forced to work with one another to try and figure out problems together and cooperatively complete their test corrections. Once significant effort has been given, typically Johanning will step in and help, but that forced cooperation allows Johanning to get to everyone and not get bogged down.

While I feel it could be beneficial for every teacher to adopt this method of test correction, teachers who teach standardized test subjects  (Algebra I , biology, english, or any of the AP classes), have the most to gain from adopting this system.

These subjects have a large all-encompassing test at the end, so working continually throughout the year to make sure that students are caught up and keeping pace with the class is an excellent option, since it avoids trying to do all the catch up work right before the test.

There are a few ways which we could see this system implemented.

Departments could make a determination as to whether they would like to offer test corrections, and then develop a rotating schedule so that every teacher doesn’t have to stay after every day. Perhaps it could also during the Power45 period, and it would only get better if more Power45 days were allotted in the week.

For individuals who do not give many tests, perhaps it would be more beneficial to offer a system like this instead of random bonus opportunities every once and a while.

That being said, having these test corrections does not, by any means, guarantee a good grade in the class. Johanning specifically makes sure that his tests are rigorous and extend to all areas of the subjects covered in the units he’s testing.

This added difficulty means that students still have to apply a significant amount of effort in order to receive an average grade on the test and not utterly fail it.

If Johanning’s system doesn’t fit everyone’s content or availability, there are other teachers who offer test corrections that could be helpful, too.

For example, math teacher Rick Meinl sends students home with test corrections as a homework assignment and gives them points that way.