On Fridays, we add test prep to our math block. We reviewed how to find equivalent fractions and I modeled how I eliminated wrong answer choices by showing the math next to each choice. When I released the kiddos to their independent work, this was what I saw:
And perhaps whipping my phone out to grab a picture of her work convinced her classmates that justifying our answers is awesome, because I found a lot of kids with math all over their papers.
One more, just for good measure.
Now aside from it being awesome that they did what I asked them to, there is a ton of value in their ideas being scrawled across the page. Here are a few reasons why I love showing some work or thinking for each of the answer choices:
1.) It makes multiple choice practice a bit more rigorous. By justifying why choices are wrong, they have to think critically. It helps them develop their reasoning skills when they can give reasons why an answer is incorrect.
2.) It makes them savvier test takers. This may not be the ultimate goal, but I think students should know as much as is developmentally appropriate about testing and test creation. They should know how to use process of elimination and they should understand that there are "distractors" for all test items.
3.) It immediately identifies students who are on the wrong track.
4.) It slows them down. Throughout the years, I've found the vast majority of students will race through a math test, even THE test and complete it with plenty of time to spare. And while some may flip through the booklet when they are done, they aren't really checking their work. They may end up taking longer to complete the test, but they weren't using all of those extra minutes at the end anyway!
My kids are taking a diagnostic test on Monday, so I'm definitely going to talk to them about showing their thinking and paying attention to the amount of time they have left!
Tell me, how much work do you ask your students to show?