Question Detail

Students did very poorly on test...Suggestions???

Mar 18, 2014 3:23pm

My Eighth graders recently took a test in Social Studies. I thought I went above and beyond to insure they grasped the information. I just graded them and I most all the students do poorly, even my smarter students. I know the fault lies with me, that there was some disconnect somewhere. Can anyone offer any suggestions on how to proceed? I know I need to re-teach some information, but what is the most productive way to go about it?

  • Social Studies
  • 8
  • Assessment


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    • Mar 30, 2014 12:54pm

      When I have faced the challenge of poor assessment results,
      I have tried something I call "My favorite mistakes." If you look
      at the tests, pick the top 10 most frequent errors, type them up, hand them out and have the students tell you on paper why each one is wrong, and where they found the correct answer. I even go so far as
      asking for the page number of the source (usually the text, or notes), and for them to quote the passage that supports
      the correct answer.

      This is more meaningful than test corrections. Students see the information in a different context and must then re-study (without really knowing it!) the info they did not know in the first place.

      You can grade them or not. Put them in partners after they respond individually....lots of ways to extend...

      • Mar 31, 2014 8:28am

        When I have a large divide in my 5th grade student scores, generally math, I offer peer teaching time. My high scoring students line up in the back of the room and my struggling students get to choose THE peer they want to review their test errors with. Everybody feels empowered in this arrangement and the class hums with positive and creative reteaching dialogue.

        • Mar 19, 2014 7:36am

          Have you ever offered test corrections? Students can earn back some of the points they missed (I usually do one third) by correcting anything they got wrong, which may or may not include why their answer was not correct if that makes sense for the given question. Students learn a lot by correcting their mistakes. Ideally this could be done in groups/pairs with you checking in on them to clarify or answer questions. If you feel like some material needs to be retaught, you could do that before having them make the corrections. Hope that helps! I know that can be a frustrating experience when there is that disconnect.

          • Mar 19, 2014 7:54am

            Thanks Lauren! I do usually offer test corrections and many of them do take advantage of it. This time however, this just seems like there was a general disconnect all around and I want to fix it before going further. It was bothering me all day yesterday, but I am thinking groups and working on it in class is the best option.

            Thank you again!

            • Mar 20, 2014 10:56pm

              Kids are a blank hard-disk or a blank DVD disc or blank pen-drive.

              You can write anything you want to to write in that

              each kid have ability to do things by own self.
              they have more solution for current problems

              let them give direction
              give them scope to think

              once they find the way
              they start reading
              they start finding solutions

              Be a consultant rather then dictator

              Make a list of social problems facing by your country and society.
              find out NGOs working on that

              Let them explain meaning of opportunity.

              so many developing country facing learning English
              let them know that their native language is English
              In that way they may realize the value of a language.

              Use this kind of examples and finding reason to why do they have to learn what they learn.

              • Mar 27, 2014 10:13am

                Dominique, we posted your question on Facebook as well. You will find some good answers there:

                • Mar 27, 2014 2:49pm

                  Set up a discovery model, let them learn through good inquiry based learning models, inspire them rather than teach them. Have a look on YouTube you'll find some great teachers sharing ideas. Good luck

                  • Mar 29, 2014 9:38am

                    First, make sure you know the reason(s) for the low scores. Yes, it could be your not facilitating the introduction and understanding of the material. But it could also be that the test questions were the issue (once was advised to make sure the type of question didn't appear first on the exam: e.g., don't ask them to compare/contrast without some similar discussion questions in class). Or it could be they don't know how to organize their use of exam time to optimize grades (e.g., taking too much time on one question and having too little or no time for other questions. Or it could be they don't know how to study for effective learning (had a classmate at college who spent many hours "studying" in the library; without fail, he'd come back from the library the night before an exam and ask me at that last minute "So what do you think was going to be on the test ?"). Or it might be there was a great concert the night before the exam (when of course the "studying" was going to begin) that most went to... Did at least some do well or at least ok? If so, likely not your effective learning facilitation.

                    By the way, these are the questions I suggest all students reflect on as soon after the exam as possible - writing thoughts down. It's the way we figure out how to learn and score on exams more effectively.

                    • May 28, 2014 2:06pm

                      You are being too hard on yourself. Do you teach lecture style or interactive with your students? Have you tried asking your students for feedback during your teaching to allow you to gauge their comprehension before the test? My school uses the last 5 minutes of the class period to allow students to write what they have learned. We call them "Exit Tickets" and they are graded. This method allows teachers to know what needs to be reemphasized.

                      • Jul 26, 2014 10:27am

                        I know I am answering well after your question. I hope that you have a chance to review it.
                        I have found when my students "fail" it was my fault. There was something about the test questions or material that did not make that connection. It usually occurs when I hurry through the teaching part. Kids need that wait time to absorb material. I really liked Ms. Fuller's suggestion of having the top kids line up in the back and tutor those who need it.
                        Another suggestion is to change teaching styles. Have you seen or heard about It looks like elementary stuff but it does work with older students too. I also use because we have internet access where I teach.
                        Of course, you have already begun the right way to fix your problem by admitting you have one and seeking advice on how to fix it. Is there another teacher at your school whom you might seek advice from? Perhaps there is another school in your area where you might find a mentor to work with. Do not be afraid to jump content lines either. Good teaching is good teaching and the strategies other teachers use in the ELA, math, and science classrooms might just work for you too.

                        • Dec 7, 2014 12:49pm

                          I would possibly use some method of checking for understanding to ensure that they have grasped the material. If you feel that they have maybe the problem lies within the test itself. Examine the test for any similiarities in missed questions. Another solution would be to offer a different assessment style as opposed to a test. Maybe incorporate options for the students such as a verbal demonstration of the content through a speech or a group play. If you were certain that the students had a good grasp of the content I would examine the test for sure.