Without feedback and self-reflection, exams are a missed opportunity to strengthen students’ learning. With exam wrappers or post-exam review, students are provided the opportunity to 1) reflect on their knowledge, 2) examine study strategies and behaviors, and 3) answer open-ended reflection questions revealing growth opportunities.
Correcting and Reflecting: Following exam return, students identify the questions that they missed and determine for what reasons they missed the question (e.g., misread the question, used incorrect logic, didn’t know enough information).
Examining Study Strategies and Behaviors: Students identify the study tools (e.g., flashcards) and behaviors (e.g. regular class attendance). Students indicate the tools and actions they used to prepare for the exam and which ones they found most helpful.
Open-ended Reflection: Students respond to questions such as 1) was the grade an accurate reflection of what they knew for the exam and how well prepared they felt; 2) what could they do to improve their learning prior to the next exam; and 3) what could the instructor do to improve their learning experience.
Review your graded exam. Estimate the percentage (again, total of 100%) of points lost for:
- Not being clear on what the problem was asking
- From careless mistakes
- From not being familiar with the terms or basic principles
- Having difficulty remembering formulas
- Not understanding concepts/difficulty working with formulas
- Not being able to put multiple concepts together
- Ran out of time
- Other (Please Specify):
Andaya, G., Hrabak, V., Reyes, S., Diaz, R. and McDonald, K. (2017). Examining the effectiveness of a postexam review activity to promote self-regulation in introductory biology students. Journal of College Science Teaching, 46(4), 84-92.
Dang, N., Chiang, J., Brown, H., and McDonald, K. (2018). Curricular activities that promote cognitive skills impact lower-performing students in an introductory biology course. Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education, 19(1), 1-9.