Getting Better Grades

My students did four grammar chapters, interspersed with readings and writings. We graded the grammar chapters in class, as soon as they were done, so that the students could see what they were getting and what they were missing.

Then I told the students that the midterm would be over those four chapters. I suggested they study. I pointed out specific exercises to review.

The test was questions from the book. Two of the specific exercises I pointed out were on the test in their entirety.

The test grades were between 40 and 71. These are students who don’t have a firm grasp on the grammar, but I would have expected them to do better.

I required that the students fix the test, answering the questions correctly. Most students did this. (The ones who didn’t lost 50 points on daily grades.)

When I re-graded their fixes, most of them still missed enough to receive a C at best. I marked the answers, so that the students knew which ones were correct. Then I returned them.

When I returned them, I suggested that it would be good for the student to review his work.

Then, today, without any warning, I gave them the exact same test again. Just under half the class improved, with a quarter doing worse, and a bit more than a quarter doing better. One of the students raised his grade 30 points on the second test. That made significant difference to his average in the class, raising it 3 points, to a B.

I tried to get them to work on this and understand it. I gave them time in class and homework assignments relating to the grammar.

Sometimes it doesn’t matter how much the teacher is willing to do. If the student isn’t willing to do the work and learn the material, no number of reviews will get it through the brain.

I was disappointed in most of the scores. I was thrilled with the one major improvement.

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