Self-assessment is one of the most important skills we teach.

“I believe the goal of school should be to teach students how to learn on their own.” ~ Catlin Tucker

“Who’s Doing the Work?”~ Burkis and Yaris

The Teacher’s Role



The Student’s Role

  1. Just circulate and check if HW is done. Don’t check for answers, check for form. Did they show work? Draw models?
  2. We can only expect students to learn from mistakes if HW is very low stakes – so no penalties for running out of time, or for mistakes.
  3. In addition, we circle any work done at level 3, and put a plus sign next to it. We collect HW afterwards, and give credit and feedback for Level 3 work.

  1. We don’t penalize for running out of time on HW, or for mistakes, but we DO penalize for not correcting work, or not showing thoughtful work on corrections. This is an uphill battle, but worth it. We’re teaching students “how to learn on their own.” Students almost always shrug off mistakes as “careless errors”, even when they’re actually conceptual misunderstandings. Our goal is to get students past this superficial focus on “right answers” and instead to move them to a place where they care about their learning, take pride in their learning, and seek approval for their progress in their own learning.
  2. We ask students to work together, in pairs or threes, checking answers. If 2 students have different answers, each should defend their own answer, or say why their answer is wrong. Since we only give HW every other day, the 10 minutes needed for this is acceptable.
  3. Students then choose their “most valuable mistake” – the one that taught them something they want to remember. This should be taken from Levels 1 and 2 only. (see note at the bottom of this page)
  4. File #1 (top left corner of this webpage) shows an example of a correction sheet that can be used. File #2 shows a student’s work.
  5. Students work together to present a 1-minute mini-lesson to the class. At first, this goes by volunteer basis only (although everyone has to hand in their corrections sheet). This earns volunteers lots of marbles (our classroom reward — a full marble jar = extra recess.) At FIRST, this is a scary endeavor. You’ll need to praise and reward heavily. Gradually, more students will volunteer to do this. By December, we’ve converted everyone.
  6. Someone with no mistakes on HW still should help prepare the “mini-lesson”. If they have extra time, students with no mistakes on Level 1 and 2 could possibly get together to discuss their answers to Level 3. Don’t give away the answer until absolutely necessary.

Correcting Quizzes

  1. Very similar to above, except students usually do corrections alone, and we change it to “My TWO most valuable mistakes”.
  2. Any problems missed widely (over 30% of the class) should reappear quickly on HW assignments and future quizzes. (Level 1 and 2 problems only – see note below on Level 3)

Casper the Absent Student

  1. If a large number of students are confused on a certain problem, or got it conceptually wrong, start the lesson (or tomorrow’s lesson) with a challenge: “Casper” has missed class again, although somehow he always gets his HW in. He made the following mistake on the HW… Some marbles if we can describe to Casper what he did wrong.

In The Flipped Classroom

  1. Very similar to above, except have students submit HW online.
  2. Then share an answer key.  If they answered a problem incorrectly, they work with a partner online to figure out how to correct it and then present a mini-lesson, for example on Flipgrid.

Level 3 Work

  1. We don’t require corrections on Level 3 unless a student has time and interest in doing so.
  2. Level 3 is not really something we teach. It’s practice in thinking and trying things out. Therefore, any attempts — not only successful ones — should be recognized. Clear logical thinking is probably a result of earnest exercise, not teaching.
  3. Increase the difficulty on Level 3 work until it is challenging, even to the most eager students. Everyone should get a chance to experience productive struggle!

%d bloggers like this: