I hate grading tests! I've tried to trick myself into having fun doing it by buying cool pens to grade with, sitting in a comfy chair, eating a snack. I even tell myself the lie that, "I could go home and grade them on my couch," and then the tests make a round-trip from home to school without ever leaving my school bag. There is ONE thing I do love about grading tests though, and it's the last question I put on every test and quiz.
"Reflection: How do you think you did on this assessment? Why?"
Here are some reasons why I love this question:
1. Metacognition - thinking about thinking. Students have to reflect on what they learned and how the learned it and decide how that translated to the assessment. This student knew which questions she struggled with (both content and question type)
2. Ownership in student learning - I'm a firm believer that students should be the one driving most of the work in my classroom. If they didn't learn what they needed to in order to be successful, I want to know why they think that happened.
Also if they feel they successfully mastered a skill, I want to know why they think that happened as well.
3. Accountability - I love when students tell me what they could do differently to improve the outcome. This student says, "I should have spent more time studying the study guide. No doubt this is the grade I deserve."
4. Insight - Sometimes students are willing to write things that they wouldn't say out loud. Language arts teachers already know this, but math teachers don't have as many opportunities for them to open up with writing. This open-ended question lets them express anything, like this student who was just having a bad day.
I hope you will give a question like this a try sometime on a test or quiz, you may just be surprised at what your students have to say.