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ESL forum > Techniques and methods in Language Teaching > How do you correct exams in class?    

How do you correct exams in class?

Lilia Laz

How do you correct exams in class?

Hi friends,

If it �s possible, I �d like you to share your experience concerning exams � correction. Do you provide or ask pupils to supply the correct answers; Or do you consider it as a lesson for which you prepare a plan with pre/while/ post stages activities.
How would you correct reading comprehension, language and writing?
Thanks in advance.
Hugs from Tunisia

9 Nov 2012      


We use written assignment for everything except speaking.
So, we have tests for reading, use of English, writing and listening all of which can then be easily marked based on the KEY
Here you can read about testing reading comprehensionhttp://iteslj.org/Techniques/Mohamad-TestingReading.html

As to speaking, there �s a list of topics with numbers and the students have to pull out three numbers, read the tasks for those three numbers and choose one which they would want to talk about. There are several criteria for assessment like: 
content (if they covered all the aspects of the task)
phonetics (whether they are not confusing basic sounds e.g. w & v; how they use sentence stress, etc)
vocabulary (whether they use vocabulary appropriate for their level)
Bonus (extra cedit given for using a smart quotation or proverb)
all of which have certain percentage and constitute the final mark. The examinators would each put their own marks for each criterial, and then they would add it up and calculate the everage which is the final mark. That �s how it �s done during the final state exam at school.
Here �s an example of a task for speaking:

One of the main reasons people study foreign languages is so they can travel around the world.What word or phrase do you think is the most important to know when travelling in a foreign country? Why? What is the biggest challenge for a traveller who does not speak the local language? How do people communicate when they don�t speak each other�s language? 
After the students elaborates on the topic, the examinators may ask him questions related to the topic to see if he/she is competent or just learnt the text by heart.
We also have independent exams which have a different format (no speaking)


9 Nov 2012     


I don �t think you need to correct every part and parcel of the test if your correction code is regular and already explained to the pupils (e.g X for wrong, ? for missing answer, a tick for correct answer and a total at the bottom of page).
The correction procedure can be the following:
1. prepare a few blank copies of the test and hand out to pupils before giving them back their test. Ask them to try again to answer some questions (you select from each part) together as pairs or groups of 4. You may focus on False statements in Reading, Correct form Or tense in language and the guided writing this time; and then focus on other parts the next time.
2. Give the students their tests back and ask to check the total of their marks before lauching into the correction.
3. Start correcting the selected parts on the board. Draw a 2-column table on the board, one for the correct answer and one for the reason or justification of an answer. When it �s comprehension focus on the strategies the reader can adopt to find correct answers and warn the student against the wrong methods of answering (e.g: add a wrong item, an extra detail, justification with more than an answer, unclear / confusing answer.) the kind of answers that won �t be accepted in a national exam.  When correcting language always ask pupils / remind the pupils of the reason for deciding to put a word in a particular blank, putting a word in a particular tense or form, or  choosing some alternative and not an other. write the rules on the board, write the wrong answers if need be and cross out + reason.
3. As for the writing, you are expected to put some correction symbols next to wrong words or expressions when correcting the papers. So all you have to do now is (to) ask the pupils to help each other with the correction of eachother �s essays, and of course you monitor and interfere when necessary.
4. Don �t hesitate to explain to "curious" students why some answers in the  tasks you don �t focus on were wrong or correct.

Your correction code should be clear / Students should be convinced you are fair / The correction session is like a lesson in that the students should feel they have learnt something new when they leave it.

9 Nov 2012     


Personally, in grammar, vocabulary & reading comprehension parts,  I elicit the correct answers from my students and then I write them on the whiteboard. For some questions, there is but one possible answer. For some others, there may be various possible answers and I / we (students & I) have to choose the best one as a model answer.

In written expression, I choose the best one among the ones written by my students and then, sometimes with slight modifications, I give it to the whole class as a model. If there is no a student �s work deserving to be a model, I give my own piece of writing.

9 Nov 2012     

Lilia Laz

Thank ypu all for your enlightening remarks and for sharing your experiences
Have a nice evening

9 Nov 2012