Reteaching and Retesting
Lesson 17 of 17
Objective: SWBAT improve on their performance on the equilibrium unit exam.
These lessons come about from a shift in our district philosophy over the past five years. We have moved towards a mastery learning model where retests must be offered if students are unhappy with their performance on the unit test. The criteria to qualify for a retest is up to teacher discretion, as is the format.
I generally do not do whole class re-teaching and re-testing, choosing to allow students to come before or after school for the remediation and second chance. However, on this exam, the scores did not match what I was seeing in class in terms of student performance, so I was concerned the exam was flawed.
I truly felt that simply switching from a forced choice to an open ended test would be enough to improve student performance. However, I did want to provide opportunities for additional instruction and clarification. Both chunks of the exam were given on shortened schedule days due to the PARCC exam, and I also felt that the disruptive schedule may have impeded student performance.
After the retesting, 67% of students had met our district requirement for mastery. 51% of students improved their performance on the retest by an average of 19% each.
This test covered HS-PS1-5 apply scientific principles and evidence to provide an explanation about the effects of changing the temperature or concentration of the reacting particles on the rate at which a reaction occurs and HS-PS1-6 refine the design of a chemical system by specifying a change in conditions that would produce increased amounts of products at equilibrium.
Day 1: Test Corrections
As the period begins, many students have already seen their test scores via our online grade system. Students immediately ask about the possibility of a retake.
I explain that we will all be retaking the exam for three reasons:
- The shortened schedule might have messed us up
- The test was complicated from a written standpoint
- Student performance in class was much better than seen on the test
I pass out the student reports from Mastery Manager (our testing software) so they know which questions they missed on the exam. The original report looks like this:
The red indicates the incorrect answer and their responses, the black capital letters indicate the correct answers. Since I want the students to perform corrections, I alter the report to only show the questions they got wrong, and what their response was.
Providing this report forces them to analyze the questions they missed using their notes and classroom work. They cannot ask a classmate what they missed, as the classmate doesn't have access to their own correct answers. This does provide a slight scaffold however, as it reduces the number of answer choices because they can eliminate their incorrect response.
I have a student pass out the Kinetics and Equilibrium ReTest Prep sheet and explain the procedure we will be doing for the retest. Today we will be correcting our tests in class. I remind them that this must happen in class because other classes have not yet taken the common exam.
Tomorrow we will watch a movie that covers these two topics, and Wednesday we will take an open-ended retest. Some students complain that they are better on multiple choice tests, and I simply respond "This test certainly didn't show evidence of that."
I pass out copies of the exam, and remind students to not have phones out while exams are out. While students are working, I circulate the room to help them with their corrections, and identify where they might have gone wrong. If students are struggling finding the information, I encourage them to ask a classmate where it might be in their own materials, but not to answer the question for them. I confirm correct answers for them, but otherwise guide them to the material in their folder or binder.
Some students perform the equilibrium corrections first as they are fresher in their mind, others go in order on the exam.
While we do not allow the tests to leave the room due to test security, students will be able to take their corrections home the following day to organize their studying, helping them to focus on what they missed.
The most common issue is students rush, they do not write out the question, or the answer, or both. When I see this I point out that it completely nullifies the point of doing this, which is to provide them access to what they need to focus on the most.
Day 2: Review Video
The next day, I return the test corrections to students. Today we will be using a video from the World of Chemistry series. Although these videos are now 25 years old, the chemistry is still well explained and organized. I am showing Episode 14, entitled Molecules in Action.
Before beginning the video, I pass out the Video Sheet which was downloaded from this site. I remind students that this was shot when I was in high school, so the music and clothing will be funny to them, but that the information is the key.
To help students keep pace, I point out when we should have questions 3, 5, and 7 completed. The catalyst example used in the video is a little complicated in context, but the questions about it are not difficult. The video's focus on the Haber process dovetails nicely with the article students read the previous week.
Ordinarily, I use these videos as sub plans and collect them. Today, I go over the answers so students have them as a resource should they choose to study that night.
This student missed the first question, likely due to inattention at the start of the video and snapping to it when I said they should be done with question 3.
This student did better on the first part, but not as well in the middle and end. I collected these during the re-test and noticed many students did not put how the conditions used to increase the yield of the Haber Process were changed, but just listed some or all of the conditions.
Day 3: Re-Test
When students enter, I collect their video sheets and test corrections from them. I spread the students out, with one student at each lab table and the remaining students as spread out as possible (2 or 3 per table). While students are getting situated, they are sharpening pencils or getting their pens out.
I pass out the Unit 7 Retest and ask them to wait until everyone has it before beginning. I explain that there are some areas where a short answer is needed, and others where a drawing is appropriate. I explain the point values should help them answer completely. If something is more than one point, the question requires more than one answer.
This student did a great job at the start of the test. The only lost point was not specifying "kinetic" energy in the first question. Since this is the regular level course, I accept answers like in #2 that, while not in scientific language, convey the student understanding of the concept.
This student got one of the two points for number 7, forgetting to explain which part of the collision theory this change correlates with. On number 8 they parroted the question, rather than remember that catalysts help with alignment of molecules.
This student did a very nice job on the beginning of the equilibrium portion of the exam. Some confusion about the direction of the shifts in 12 and 13, but had correct reasons for the shifts.
This student did a nice job of identifying a change that would shift the Haber reaction. However, they were inconsistent on it, and while they identified the shifts correctly in 13, all the reasons were off.
When students completed the retest, they began to explore our final unit via PhET until the period ended.