It’s midterm exam time again. Students write exams. Professors grade those exams. Some students are unhappy. Students meet with professors to review those exams.
An exam review meeting can go in any number of ways depending on the student’s mindset. If the student comes with an open mindset to learn how they may improve, the meeting has the potential to be a constructive dialogue to help the student form useful learning strategies. If the student comes with a narrow focus on litigating how their exam was marked, the meeting will likely be just about the mechanics of how the marking rubric was applied. Some of those kind of meetings that I have been a party to end with me saying, “We’ll have to agree to disagree.”
This semester I am trying something new to, hopefully, increase the likelihood of having more useful dialogues with my students regarding their midterm results. I devised a short online questionnaire for them to complete before meeting with me. I call it a Mid-Course Personal Performance Evaluation. Students are prompted to reflect on specific aspects of their work habits and their progress in the course.
By completing this questionnaire, the hope is that student mindsets are shifted away from the narrow mechanical focus of their exam results to a broader functional focus of assessing the learning habits and processes that led to those results. Consequently, the overall focus of the exam review meeting should be on how to improve a student’s overall progress in the course, not just how an exam was graded.