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Post Game Analysis 2.0-Instant Replay

October 14, 2011

I wrote previously about Post Game Analysis for assessments where I have students spend 10 minutes reflecting on their assessments on the Monday after they take an assessment on Friday. I don’t know why it took 9 weeks to realize this, but 2 days is a long time to wait for post game analysis. If ESPN embargoed footage of college basketball games for 2 days before discussing it on SportsCenter, it’d be dead. Post game analysis needs to be instant.

Thankfully, I was recently inspired by Frank Noschese’s recent post, Quiz Day in his photo blog, Nosechese 180. By the way, are you reading this blog every day yet? If you aren’t you’re missing out big time—and this blog is exhibit 1 about how you can put out a meaningful blog that updates frequently without a ton of work. Simply take a photo every day, and describe it in a few sentences. I’ve come away with a number of truly excellent ideas from Frank’s photo blog.

Back to the Quiz day post. Frank puts the answer keys along with orange pens in the back of the room during quizzes. After a student finishes the quiz, he/she goes back to the room, without any writing instruments, and uses the orange pen to give himself/herself feedback.

I tried this for the first time today, and I was truly amazed by how well it turned out. Here’s what makes this awesome.

  • You’re giving students models of work to compare to their own, right after they finish thinking about the problem. This gets many students right when they most want to know the answer and are most primed to learn.
  • You get to see not only what the student did during the assessment, but what he she was thinking, and how he/she gives feedback to his/her work. You never have to wonder again what a student was thinking during an assessment, since he/she will often write that down as feedback. You can start to give students feedback on the feedback they give themselves, and I think this will really start to build their metacogniatve muscles and get them focused on improving by carefully breaking down their mistakes.
  • The focus is on feedback. Pretty quickly my students wanted to know if I’d count their supposed slight variation on my solution as right or not. I refused to answer these questions and reminded this is purely about them giving themselves feedback to learn, not to bicker or bargain for points.
  • Students remember exactly what they were thinking, so they are more easily able to diagnose mistakes. When students wait two days to go back over an assessment, they often forget why they did what they did.
  • This jumpstarts the reassessment process. If students figure out what they don’t understand on Friday, instead of Monday, they can begin working much sooner on doing the corrections and extra practice they need to do to apply for an assessment. I’ve started to encourage them to take photos of their assessments with their phones so that they’ll have them to look at over the weekend, too, for this same reason.

Now here’s how I”m going to make this even better.

  • Shorter quizzes and more PGA: I’m finding more and more, if I give an assessment every week, I don’t need a long assessment to see what my students understand. a 10-20 minute assessment is more than sufficient. This will allow me to give students more time to devote to post game analysis.
  • Modified post game analysis sheet: I’m going to tweak my post game analysis sheet to encourage students to give themselves more specific feedback and make more specific plans for improving their understanding. Students will do both the assessment and the PGA follow up on Friday, and I’ll have both to look at as I’m giving feedback on the assessments.
  • Assessing your own understanding: Ultimately, I do want students to be able to assess the quality of their work the same way I do. And I think it would be a useful exercise to put a list of concepts in the back and have students give themselves a score on each concept. This will give me more feedback about whether or not they understand the seriousness of their mistakes. But I need to be very careful with this so that students stay focused on the feedback part of this exercise and not the grade part of this exercise.
  • Could we try the mistake game? I’m not sure this is a good idea, but we’ve had a lot of fun with the mistake game in class, knowing that a mistake is out there really sharpens student thinking and makes them focus on the details. I also want them to see that I make mistakes, and that’s part of learning (I think they actually see this quite a lot). So I’m wondering if, once we really get in the habit of this new form of PGA, if it might be educational to throw in a mistake or two to see how students react to them.

One last thing—I’m sure someone is bound to ask—”aren’t you worried about cheating?” Kids taking photos of tests and having answer keys 10 feet away? My answer is no, not really. I’ve worked really hard to set up an environment in my class that is focused on learning and making it ok to make mistakes. The standards based grading philosophy I use allows students to make a mistake, learn from it, show understanding, and not suffer some grade penalty for not learning it the first time. We’ve talked at some length about how assessments really are nothing more that a conversation between the student and teacher trying to discover what he/she understands in order to help him/her improve. And we also have an honor code, and a student honor committee that deals pretty harshly with cheating—though I don’t think it’s the fear of getting caught that deters students from cheating. Instead I’d like to think we’ve built a culture of trust, and this is just one more step in me showing students I trust them, and almost invariably, they rise to the occasion. As Riley Lark tweeted today:

Anyway, I feel this new twist on post game analysis is going to greatly intensify its value and really help my students to work through the learning cycle of making, diagnosing, and fixing mistakes much more effectively.

To give you some sense of what the assessments look like after student feedback and my feedback, I’ve anonymized a set of papers and uploaded them below (student feedback is in orange, my feedback is in purple). If you are so inclined, I’d love any feedback you have on how I give feedback. I really struggle to find specific process oriented praise for every student that will encourage growth mindset thinking. If you look closely, you’ll also see I struggle with my handwriting.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. October 15, 2011 1:10 am

    When you mentioned that they “leave feedback” I had this vision of the teacher stuff that I do. The student feedback was much more interesting. I like how they’re asking questions and looking for you to respond and how they’re basically jotting down reminders to themselves for next time. Really nice and gonna steal this one.

    Also agree 100% on brief assessments that they can quickly get to work on analyzing and improving.

  2. October 15, 2011 9:19 am

    Wow, this post is amazing for three reasons. The ideas, the scans, and the link to noschese180… How did I miss his 180 site?

    Few comments:

    On graphing problem, are you TOO focused on the exact right numerical answer for slope/velocity? You get a velocity of -1.3 m/s (assuming -4.5m/3.5s = 1.285 m/s). Other students got -1.25 m/s (-2.5m/2s) and -1.33 m/s (-4m/3s) (see #14 and #17). Looking at the graph and their work, -1.25 m/s is probably the best answer, and -1.33 m/s is totally reasonable, all within reasonable uncertainty given graph and different points chosen to calculate slope. If we really take “modellng” and “uncertainty” seriously, I think the students’ answer are just as good as yours, with -1.25 m/s actually being best because this student probably used points that intersect with minor axes to get a good estimate. The graph itself looks like it covers those 4.5 meters in about 3.6 or 3.7 seconds, so your estimate isn’t that great either. The question is, “What is wrong with their process?” And I can’t see any. They aren’t even making careless mistakes. They are just making different choices, with different consequences. … I’d put those three answers up on the document camera, and ask, “How could we have each gotten different answers for the velocity?” Are any of these answers wrong? Are any better than the others? What strategies can we use to make good estimates from graphs?

    Page #15: You wrote “Excellent Reasoning!” —- From what I know about what you value, is this a problem for Mindset? Why not descriptive praise? Something like, “I see you explained your reasoning using both N2 and N3, but in your own words!”

    #39: You wrote, “You could work on being more concise!” … I’m not sure what you are seeing here. And certainly the student won’t, beyond the teacher wants me to write less. They have TWO key points to make to you. One is that the forces aren’t the same KIND (gravitational, normal), and they aren’t forces between two OBJECTS. These are two great ideas, but they aren’t the two you were looking for (because you were thinking this was one thing?). I think my feedback might have been, “I only thought there were 2 things wrong. But because of your explanation, I now think there are 3!..”

    P.S. I’m totally stealing this idea for assessment as well.

    • October 15, 2011 9:24 am

      Wow. And this is why we as teachers need to open up and post more of their work—thanks for the incredible feedback. You’ve made me decide to go and give a second pass to both sets of assessments.

      • October 15, 2011 10:53 am

        I totally agree about the whole opening up our classrooms and posting more of our work. That opening up, however, does have to come with the right mindset. I know you are posting because you are specifically looking for detailed feedback–you talk extensively about your own growth mindset and the need of everyone to have coaches. Plus, I feel like we know each other well enough that even if some aspect of the feedback we give each other comes out wrong, we have enough positive past experiences with each other for that one part not to be detrimental. Trust, relationships, and mindset are all really important things to develop alongside the de-privatization of one’s teaching…

        I have been thinking a lot of how to best de-privatize my own teaching through my blog or me local community.. I certainly have to be very careful about posting student work online (even if anonymized) because I am an education researcher. I can’t afford to have even the perception that I am mis-using student data or exploiting my position as a teacher/researcher. It’s something I need to think about more.

  3. October 17, 2011 9:41 am

    That’s brilliant…Back to Staples I go for colored pens. I’m curious to see how this meshes with my practice of giving kids conferences with each assessment as I grade it. I’d hope that the questions and feedback they leave would/could guide that conversation. Thanks!

    • October 20, 2011 8:22 pm

      Can you explain a bit more about how you do conferences with your kids after assessments?

  4. October 26, 2011 4:03 pm

    This is awesome!
    My colleague across the hall, Blair Miller, and I discussed something like this just last week. At first I was resistant because our approach only used answer keys for students to check their work. The feedback part got lost. Requiring them to self-assess and comment, then commenting on their comments is really a feedback conversation. I’m sold!

  5. November 13, 2011 6:25 pm

    On your answer key, is it just the answers or modeling of how to work the problem to get the correct answer?

    I teach sixth grade math and I am SO on to this! Thank you!

    • November 13, 2011 7:27 pm

      My answer key is extensive—I explain each step in words, equations and graphs, and write questions about common mistakes, pro tips of things to do that show extra understanding, etc. But it is interesting that 2-3 lines of algebra are all it takes to make some students say they don’t understand how to do the problem at all, which is something for us to work on.

  6. Joe Morin permalink
    November 23, 2011 10:01 am

    Photos of their assessments (or of the answer key) in am classes might be very useful to students taking the assessment in pm classes. Is this a concern for you?

    • Joe Morin permalink
      November 23, 2011 10:05 am

      Sorry. You answered it later on.

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