What affects tests scores? Kids graph it themselves.

September 15, 2010 at 4:44 PM Leave a comment

At the end of every test is “Write a question YOU have about the test topics.” and “How do you think you did? Explain.”   

What affects test scores?   

I get some sense that paying attention in class is more important than studying hard as I glance at their answers while grading a million tests. But really, I need a more objective way so I came up with this template with test score on the vertical axis and the variable on a Lickert scale on the horizontal axis   

Each group brainstorms ideas THEY can control that might affect their test scores


Kids were most interested to see if amount of studying, hunger, tiredness and paying attention in class affected their performance. A smattering of “need to pee?” and “Good day/Bad day” 

Then each group chose one variable to make a graph for – see my example above.   

Each group member added their data point to their group’s graph. Then kids rotate graphs to the next table. I went over the test after they had got started, so they could fill in data without taking up tooooo much class time. (It was a distraction though.)   

Then slammed up their graphs for some interesting results:   


So sleep, more important than they thought. (‘course the mommies always knew this 🙂   

Studying hard. Not a strong correlation on our approved ‘eyeballing’ method of correlation co-efficients and statistical significance. It’s the I-test, not the p-test, chi squared or t-test. I should know these but ummm.     

A correlation with doing better if relaxed rather than way stressed out. Imagine.   

A lot of studying seems slightly correlated to LESS good scores.   

And less fun for me – interest in the subject is not correlated to test score AND, sadly, no one admits to more than liking the unit and several to not liking it at all. Maybe should stop knocking myself out for them… Or figure that it’s a lot of peer pressure going on and also, to ask them about that tomorrow.   

Kid Questions   

Cheat at this and think up a question during the unit – part of my nepharious strategy to keep them curious…   

After quickly sharing their questions in their groups, each group gets to ask me one question. The other kids have their agendas out in case there is a q. that they want to find out for a little extra credit. Fun to see what is interesting them or confusing them. “Why don’t we feel that we are spinning around the sun all the time?” came up several times. More fun to be stumped so they can find out for themselves and teach ME something. Need it with physics. Ask my dad. I’ll share particularly cool links on our homework site for all to see.


Entry filed under: Assessment and grading, Critical Thinking, Curiosity, Data Analysis.

Do-It-Yourself first! Projects, labs, assignments.. Get set for Project Based Learning!

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