Test Reflections

Maths Pathway has a test reflection step built into the process of the learning cycle. This step can seem trivial to the home user but it is perhaps the most important step for your child to become ‘good at maths’.

Maths Pathway has determined that one of the biggest barriers to students doing maths well is not their underlying maths ability. Rather it is the approach they take to learning in general and maths in particular. Moving a student from a poor approach to learning to a good one is the paramount reason for introducing a test reflection into the learning cycle.

In a school, the test reflection usually involved sitting down briefly with the teacher and thinking about what worked well in the last cycle and what could improve. None of this discussion involves going over the mistakes in the test. It is all about what the student did during the cycle to help them learn the maths and determining something they can try to improve on in the next cycle.

A good example of this comes from a common behaviour pattern in students where the students do not correct their work or fail to redo a question that is wrong. The result is nearly always that the student does poorly on the next test. Here is how the reflection session with a teacher would go:

  • The student, with their workbook in hand, sits down with the teacher.
  • The teacher views their test result and inspects their workbook.  (At this point the teacher will have seen that student hasn’t corrected or redone incorrect answers.)
  • The student is given a chance to comment on their own learning (it is better if the student can reflect well on their own learning if they can).
  • Through this discussion it is agreed that the workbook hasn’t been done well and that there might be a link between that and the poor test result.
  • Together the teacher and student set a learning goal for the next cycle and write it down. E.g. “I will make sure that I correct after each question and redo the question if I get it wrong.”
  • After the next cycle of learning, the teacher and student review the goal from the last cycle and compare the test results to see if it has made a difference to the results. If it has made a difference, the focus can change to a new goal. If it hasn’t made a difference, the goal may need to be modified and tried again in the next cycle.

Using this approach, the student has good feedback from the test on whether the strategy has been successful. If it has been successful, the student is highly motivated to continue the practice. A couple of important things to note about reflections:

  • For a student, who has a poor attitude to maths, it is important to check regularly during the cycle to remind them to keep to their goal.
  • Remember to praise a student who has made an effort to complete the goal. Even if the goal is not successful in improving the results, the student has learnt something.
  • It is best to focus on one goal at a time. Trying to do too many things at once makes it very hard to to all the things well.
  • Goals are equally applicable to students who are doing well on their maths. The idea is that they learn what needs to happen to be a good learning. These skills are then available to them through the rest of their lives.

There is nothing in the reflection process that requires specialist teacher skills. It can be done just as well by parents. There is an article here that outlines the 3 biggest practices that will make a difference to learning. It is a good place to start.