I administered my skills tests for the week today, but instead of making students complete the tests individually, they were encouraged to work within their team (of 3 or 4 students total). Each student turned in a separate piece of paper. I picked problem 1 from student A, problem 2 from student B, problem 3 from student C, and so forth, to determine the grade that all group members would receive. Interesting. Overall, I recommend you try it.
- A different format. The kids were really in to it. Afterwards, every kid I asked said something between “I liked it” and “It was way better.”
- Easy to administer and grade.
- I felt like I could put tougher problems on the test. In fact, all of the problems I put on it were harder than usual, and the scores on this test were 10.6% higher than the scores on the rest of my tests.
- Students got practice communicating in a “high stakes” environment.
- It didn’t feel like I was spending the whole class on assessment. There was also learning going on. I heard things like, “this is the way I’ve started to think about this,” and “can we check this [answer]?”
- Tension was high, particularly in one group, when there were disagreements. There was some snapping and flustered rustling of papers.
- Probably at least one student earned a grade higher than his understanding should indicate.
The pros are great, here. Compared to the atmosphere during individual tests, today’s vibe was much more collegiate and… educational. How can I mitigate the cons? I could alternate individual and team tests. I could talk with the students about strategies to work under pressure. Would more time alleviate the tension?
Anyone else have experience with team tests?