Monday, August 8, 2016

Student Success Increases When They Debrief After Tests

A new study published in Advances in Physiology Education adds additional evidence of the effectiveness that students do better when they take the time to analyze their tests immediately after taking them.

In my blog The A&P Student, I published an article in October of 2009 that outlines an easy and effective way for A&P students to "debrief" after each test and exam so that they can both clarify misconceptions and gain insights into possible weakness in test preparation.

The new research confirms that
By having students focus on missed questions coupled with addressing deficiencies in their test preparation strategies and behaviors, they likely engage in more self-regulated learning to better prepare for exams and avoid repeating past mistakes. (Favero & Hendricks 2016).

What can we use from this in teaching undergraduate A&P?

  • Encouraging students to debrief after every test and exam—individually or in study groups—can be more effective than whole-class reviews of exams or tests.

  • Test self-analysis can help students learn (or re-learn) concepts they are unable to retrieve on a test.

  • Test self-analysis can help students identify patterns of misconceptions, poor test preparation, and poor test-taking skills that make them better aware of their own thinking (metacognition) and thus more likely to succeed in later testing.

  • Consider encouraging your students to debrief after every test by providing them with the tools needed (see the links below).

  • In my many years of using this technique, I've found that the process described in the links below works equally well for either/both online tests (including adaptive quizzing) and traditional paper tests and exams

Want to know more?

Student exam analysis (debriefing) promotes positive changes in exam preparation and learning
  • Terence G. Favero, Nora Hendricks. Advances in Physiology Education Published 1 September 2016 Vol. 40 no. 3, 323-328 DOI: 10.1152/advan.00060.2016
  • The new research confirming the value of self-analysis of recent tests in an A&P course.

Learn from your mistakes!
  • Kevin Patton The A&P Student. October 21, 2009
  • Brief blog post directed at A&P students giving them resources to perform this on their own, including an instructional video (see below), and access to a sample analysis form (see below). Consider linking to this post in your syllabus (and/or the other embedded resources).

Test Item Analysis
  • Kevin Patton Lion Den retrieved August 8, 2016
  • Entry from Kevin's library of Study Tips & Tools for A&P students, briefly runs through the advantages of debriefing after a test and provides an instructional video (see below) and sample analysis form that students can download and use (or adapt). Consider adding a link from your syllabus or course website/LMS.

Learn from Your Mistakes: TEST ANALYSIS
  • Kevin Patton YouTube retrieved August 8, 2016
  • Brief instructional video that teaches students how to perform a test analysis (and why it's important). Link to this video in your course, or embed the video.

Survival Guide for Anatomy & Physiology (2 ed)
  • Kevin Patton. 2014. Mosby, Inc., an affiliate of Elsevier Inc. St. Louis MO ISBN: 978-0-323-11280-2 
  • Brief paperback book that you can make available in your school or classroom library or require/suggest for purchase in your college bookstore. Covers the process of test debriefing and gives tips on how to resolves inefficient patterns of test preparation and test taking. Also contains A&P specific content tips and analogies.

Photo credit (top): relaenin