One of the most important aspects of guiding students in the learning process is reflection. However, many instructors either don’t know how to incorporate reflection or just don’t understand the benefits. Grant it, some courses lend themselves more to reflection. STEM courses normally do not.
Flipping my classes has given me more opportunities to talk to students one-on-one. Our conversations have given me better insight into their learning processes. In addition to not knowing how to take notes, students spend even less time reflecting and summarizing what they learned and how they learned what they learned (or didn’t learn). In a recent publication, I came across the idea of Exam Wrappers. I used information from both Purdue University and Carnegie Mellon University to design an exam wrapper that will help students “learn FROM the test”. Here is what I use as my exam wrapper.
After a test is graded, I return the test along with an exam wrapper. I print the exam wrapper on colored paper so that students are less likely to lose it. Students are directed to complete the wrapper by the next class meeting. I review the exam wrapper and give students up to 5 points on the test for completing it. The more reflection, the greater the points.
I make copies of the exam wrappers and write the test score on each copy of the wrapper for future reference. Many of my students really find it beneficial not only to guide them through the test, but help them know what to do to prepare for the next test. Here a few comments from the first test exam wrappers. The first comment is from a student repeating the course.
The exam wrappers are also a huge benefit to me. Students are given the opportunity to give suggestions to me. Instead of waiting until the end of the semester for feedback, I hear it from the students during the semester and I can address any concerns now instead of later. I am able to give the student feedback on the exam wrapper about their learning. Exam wrappers are a win-win for both the student and me. If you haven’t thought about student reflection, exam wrappers are a great tool to try.