The purpose of any assessment should be to increase student learning and build their confidence in that subject.
Why do I correct papers with a pencil!
I have been asked this question a number of times by students and parents. The answer is simple -Red is not a positive colour! Why use a colour to correct a paper that is so loaded with negative thoughts? When students see a red mark, the first reaction is that something is incorrect, it upsets and discourages them. It’s intimidating to see red marks all across a paper.
All corrections are hard for students to receive, even when meant constructively.
The fears within a student for an assessment stem from the fear of failure rather than the assessment itself. Traditional grading methods need to be revised. The idea that grading work should be about spotting mistakes and correcting errors is a very narrow one. There will be far more student learning going on if the purpose of the assessment was centred around showing the students what they know, rather than what they don’t. This is not to say that the students shouldn’t made aware of what is incorrect, but that can’t be the focus of an assessment. Errors should not be treated as defeats, but a second chance to redeem yourself.
The aim of education in modern times should be to increase opportunities for students to be active participants in the learning process. An assessment should encourage the student to see the errors and evaluate the mistakes positively, it should engage the student in self evaluation.This purposeful reflection about what they are learning and how they are learning it, gives students a voice in their learning process and methodology.
Positive comments, self evaluation, personal attention, non-red ink – these are just some ways to create an environment of learning that is tied to enhancing student success, student self-belief and student progression through the educational channel.