I am fortunate enough to work in a building that has eighty minutes of time each week to work with my Professional Learning Team. I am even more fortunate that the use of those eighty minutes is largely determined by the PLTs. One of the things my PLT has spent a lot of time on this year is assessments. Most weeks, Dan Davisson, Bruce Janu @Vir_Historia and I go through upcoming tests and read each question. We look at the questions to determine several things:
-if the question is asking something we want to assess
-if the question is understandable to the students
-if the distracters are too hard or confusing
-if the words in the question are too difficult or too easy
-if the question is aligned to a standard
It has been a great use of time. In about half hour, we typically get through about four or five questions. We discuss how we teach each question and the verbiage we use to teach it. Then, we discuss our understanding of the question. This is the best part. Each of use has a different perspective, and it is interesting to see how three historians have a different thought process for each question.
Also, we each speak to how we think students will think about the question. We look at it from their perspective to see why they might pick one answer over another. It is great to put ourselves in the minds of the students. It helps us look at their misunderstandings and how to help correct those misunderstandings. The reason we are going through the tests this year is because most of our questions have been taken from test banks and online sources, or we have written them, and it has been several years since we have collectively gone through with everyone present. It is a very enlightening experience that has students in mind the entire time.