No stakes testing – not telling students their results


I’m considering how I might test knowledge as my assessment model focuses mainly on skills. I’ve trialled and am still considering using diagnostic questions or multiple choice to do this.

However, in considering it I’ve been thinking about the purpose of it. Why do I need to know what a student got out of 20? The plan would be to test at the start of a topic, possibly the middle and at the end. If I used the same questions or at least test the same knowledge then this would show me how a student has progressed in their knowledge. But there’s always been a feeling that with multiple choice they could guess the answer which could cause issues. I understand that the idea of diagnostic questions is to pick up misunderstandings by careful writing of possible options however I plan to trial it in a different way. I would use the first test to plan what I need to teach or importantly what I don’t need to spend time on in class.

Don’t tell the students their mark

Why do they need to know it? I will present them with the following:

You must only choose answers you KNOW. You should not guess. 

Culture shift

At the start I think students won’t do this but if I follow it up with something in class that also tests this and if they   dont replicate the knowledge & understanding I can query it with them. I’ve done this in the past and they only tend to do it once if they know that they must really only put what they know and I won’t care. Often our students want to please us with their knowledge & understanding, I will need to develop a culture of being realistic about what they know/don’t known no help them to understand that the more honest they are the more potential for learning there is.

Option ‘E’

So far I’ve trialled multiple choice with options A-D. I’m going to trial option ‘E’, “I dont know”. They must select this if they genuinely don’t know the answer. 

Therefore I don’t need to tell them what they got as they should already know, as they only answered those they know. If they selected ‘E’ 6 times then they should have 14/20. I dont need to tell them this. 

This makes it ‘no stakes’. They can’t compare % issued by the teacher with each other, they can’t cheer when they receive results, it’s almost valueless to them. 

However the value lies with me. I can see what they do/don’t know and adjust my teaching. If in the middle test they don’t know the stuff we’ve already gone through I can recap or set individual work. Finally, over the 3 tests I can see progress in knowledge acquisition .An easy way to tell if they’ve improved is to count the ‘E’s.

I would consider telling them if they’ve made progress but in theory they should also know this themselves. 

I’ve trialled Quickey for this but I think that using a google form and Flubaroo might be more efficient for analysis so will trial this this term.


3 thoughts on “No stakes testing – not telling students their results

  1. Pingback: Separating formative & summative assessment – Avoiding the pitfalls of levels | missdcoxblog

  2. Pingback: Teaching & testing but not teaching to the test | missdcoxblog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s