October 15, 2016

A not yet test

Do you know the video in which Carol Dweck explains about the power of yet? In that video she explains about a high school in Chicago which gave students the grade 'not yet' when they did not pass a course. If you have not seen the video I suggest you watch before reading on.

Recently, I spoke to a teacher who uses different types of progress focused principles and techniques in her teaching. She told me how she had taken an unannounced test in one of her classes. Some of the students looked startled to which she replied calmly and with a smile: "Don't worry. It is a not yet test."

Checking their own tests and seeing what needs more attention

She explained that their performance on the test would not be graded and that the purpose of the test was to help students find out what part of the subject material they already had mastered and what parts needed more of their effort. Somewhat put at ease they proceeded to take the test. After the test, which consisted of multiple choice items, the teacher gave them an answer sheet and four separate little pieces of paper, each of them with a letter A, B, C, or D on them.

She asked the students to check their own results. For each question the answer sheet mentioned in which part of the book the topic of the question was explained. The teacher asked the students to write down, for each wrong answer they had given, which parts of the book they should further study.

Seeing at once what needs extra attention

After the students had done that the teacher walked the class through all questions of the test. With every question she asked the students to put show which answer they had given by putting up one of the A, B, C, and D notes. This way the teacher could see at once which topics most students understood well and which they did nit.

At the same time, the process was relatively anonymous because the students could not easily see what answers the other students had given. Because of this there was little of no embarrassment among students to show their answers. The teacher made some notes about which topics needed some extra attention in class.

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