Friday, August 7, 2009

Wong Wonderings

I was assigned to read a section of Harry Wong's How to be an Effective Teacher: The First Days of School prior to school starting. The section we were to read was on how to set up a classroom, which makes sense, since we (as student teachers) will take part in this activity.

But if you know me, I tend to get a little excited when it comes to books and teaching (and especially books on teaching!), so I read the whole book. An interesting idea was brought up in the section about effective testing. Harry Wong states that the steps to writing a test are as follows (paraphrased):
Look at the concept (key idea of the information being covered), double check your objectives (what did you want the students to learn, what objectives did you set for them? Testing should ultimately be in line with your objectives), questions (should directly reflect the objectives), and remediation (test as a corrective tool-I will further explain this in the next paragraph).

The first few steps are common sense, but I had never experienced in my time as a student a test as a corrective tool-or remediation. Wong goes on to explain that as part of the test, you should indicate where the information can be found (a textbook chapter and section, if you are testing on textbook material) in parenthesis near the question. This way, when the students get their tests back, they can look up the correct answer and correct their tests. This increases learning, because the students go back and look over the parts they did not get correct on the test. While this idea is a good one and seems to go beyond the "testing because we have to" method, I wonder how practical it is in the classroom.

I would love to hear feedback from teachers (or parents who have children in school) to whether or not you employ this method (or have seen this method in action). I guess my questioning lies mostly in the time constrictions placed on teachers: you only have so much time in a day to get everything done. Is this method a practical one, or is it ideal only in theory? Any opinions and experiences are welcome!


  1. i do work in two different middle schools two days a week. i work within a specific program (AVID) as a tutor/mentor, so instead of working with one specific subject, i work with them all, but on a limited basis.

    as to your question, i was wondering what grade level you were thinking of. from my experience with middle schoolers and having two kids make it through high school, i would have to doubt that students would go back after getting their returned tests to find out what the correct answers are to incorrectly answered questions. i would think they would have to have some kind of incentive to do so - like improving their test score. if there was no incentive, the student really doesn't care what the right answer was. maybe i should say the average student wouldn't. maybe the brainiac or the high achiever would. just my two cents.


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