A Unit Review Day Activity that Works!

One feature of my Standards Based Grading model is that at the end of each unit of study is a summative (yet formative) “End-of-the-Unit Assessment.”  This comes after several formative quizzes given during the unit of study.  For years (really since I began teaching) I’ve always struggled with the dreaded “Review Day” before an test/exam/assessment/whatever  you call it.  Yesterday I had one of those AH-HA moments and think I might be on to something!

Two days before the scheduled Unit Assessment I gave my students a self-assessment sheet for the  unit that looks like this:
Self Assessment

Link to the pdf here: Self Assessment

As you can see the format of the Self Assessment is that the specific Learning Goal is listed along with a sample question that relates to that goal.  Students were then to score their own confidence and explain why they scored themselves the way they did for each goal.  I collected these sheets  from the students and used them to setup review groups for the next day’s class.

Based on the students confidence level for each goal I split the class into groups.  I essentially placed the student in the group that would focus on the goal they were least confident with.  It worked out that we had pretty even groups of 3-5 in each, which was nice.  In class the day before the assessment I had two review questions printed for each goal.  I placed each group of students on a whiteboard with a large sheet printed with the two questions on.  They spent 10-15 minutes discussing and answering the questions in front of them.  I told the groups I would not come to help them until they had something relevant written on their board.  After about 10 minutes I walked around group to group and guided them if they needed it, but most were good.  I found that most groups had a nice mix of students that knew at least something about the problem, and others that needed more guidance.  This got them talking with each other.

2014-10-30 09.35.39 2014-10-30 10.47.56 2014-10-30 10.55.31-2

After each group completed their board we did a Whiteboard Gallery walk where the groups rotated from board to board to see what questions were asked and what answers were given.  If there were questions I made myself available to discuss things with small groups.  With the time we had left in class I gave out a traditional practice “review” sheet for students to do on their own if they chose to.

I liked the way the activity gave structure to the review day that wasn’t just me talking and going over stuff.  It was also individualized for each student based on their own confidence levels, not just random grouping where they might be working on problems they already know.  It also is so much better than giving them a “free day” to be productive and review on their own, because we all know how that turns out.

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