Using exams as formative assessment

Exams are often seen as summative assessment. From my experience, students often seen exams as high stakes and only want to know their grade. The most common question students ask me when they get their exams back is “Did I pass?”. Most of them don’t seem to be interested in using exams as a way to know where they are at and how they can improve. So I wanted to do something different to encourage my students to see exams as one way of them knowing how they are progressing and a window into what they should do to improve. I also wanted them to use exams as an opportunity to reflect on their revision strategies.

I stumbled across exam wrappers and decided to implement it with my Year 9s. My Year 9s just finished their half yearly exams. When I returned their papers, I also got them to use an exam wrapper and a Dedicated Reflection and Improvement Time process to facilitate the processing of feedback and self reflection. Overall, this strategy was very well received by students. Many of them were able to identify the syllabus components they need to focus on and revision strategies to try next time. It also gave me, as their teacher, an insight into how they studied and how I can explicit teach revision strategies to them.

Here’s what my exam wrapper and DIRT feedback looked like with links to editable versions of both documents.

exam wrapper

DIRT feedback

Links to editable file

2 thoughts on “Using exams as formative assessment

  1. Thinking about thinking… really like the simplicity of the Wrapper but also the depth of the DIRT. Intend to use these soon. Thanks!

    • Thanks for the comment, Jason. I found the DIRT feedback sheet a lot more time efficient than me writing individual feedback on students’ papers, which is what I use to do. Let me know if you want to bounce off ideas for using DIRT in HPE 🙂

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