Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Using Exam Reviews to Promote Metacognition and Foster Learning.

I sent this email yesterday to my students from last semester.  

Good morning, I am happy to meet with individual students to discuss exam performance.  However, you must take some steps before we meet.  First, access your essays from your dropbox.  Second, access the exam questions and two Student Model Answers.  Third, in a 1-2 page Word document, compare your exam answers to the model answers.  Please attach that Word document when scheduling your appointment.

Why do I do this?   Metacognition, of course!  If I sat down and just explained the exam and your errors to you, like the "Sage on the Stage," I would be doing the work FOR you.  While that approach would satiate my ego and make me feel like the knower-of-all-things (which my kids say I am not), it would do little to foster your learning.  Instead, when YOU have to flag your errors, you build the ability to find your weaknesses.  This will help you tremendously in bar exam study and in the practice of law. 

I will be happy to comment on the accuracy of your metacognition, but I am going to make you do the work first!!

The added benefit of this method is that it tends to "educate" the grade increase seekers.  Instead of an unproductive meeting defending my grading choices, the grade seekers instead realize through their reading of the top essay that they indeed have some work to do.  For more information on this method, see Sarah J. Schendel, What You Don’t Know (Can Hurt You): Using Exam Wrappers to Foster Self-Assessment Skills in Law Students, 40 Pace L. Rev. 154 (2020).  

Louis Schulze, FIU Law


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