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Exam Wrappers and Test Analyses

Overview

Exam wrappers and test analyses are strategies meant to encourage learners to actively process exam feedback and reflect on their preparation strategies. They can also encourage learners to look for patterns in the errors they made. The benefit of an exam wrapper or test analysis is that it can guide students “to review and analyze their performance (and the instructor’s feedback) with an eye toward adapting their future learning” (Ambrose et al., 2010, p. 251).

Implementation

Implementing an exam wrapper or test analysis involves relatively few steps, and there are some adaptations instructors can make depending on their educational goals for the activity. Below is a basic implementation scheme followed by adaptations educators can make.

  1.  Create your exam wrapper/test analysis handout.
  2.  When graded exams are returned, provide each student with the handout.
  3.  Ask students to look through their returned exams and answer the questions on the wrapper/analysis.
  4.  Students return their completed wrapper to the instructor.
  5.  The instructor keeps the wrapper and returns it to the student to review about a week prior to the next exam. Students review what they previously noted on their exam wrapper/test analysis so they can make adjustments in preparing for their next exam.

Use Day of Exam and Post-Exam

*The reason for this adaptation is so students can recall how they prepared for the exam, which they may forget in the time between taking the exam and seeing it graded.

  1. Provide students with their exams and the wrapper/analysis at the same time. After students have completed their exams, ask them to complete any questions related to how they prepared for the exam (see sample questions in example wrappers/analyses).
  2. Students then turn in their partially-completed wrappers/analyses with their completed exam.
  3. Return graded exams with partially-completed wrappers/analyses.
  4. Ask students to look through their returned exams and answer the questions on the remaining wrapper/analysis questions.
  5. Students return their completed wrapper to the instructor.
  6. The instructor keeps the wrapper and returns it to the student to review about a week prior to the next exam. Students review what they previously noted on their exam wrapper/test analysis so they can make adjustments in preparing for their next exam.

During Exam and Post-Exam

*The reason for this adaptation is that it adds an element of confidence rating during the exam itself.

  1. Provide students with their exams and the wrapper/analysis at the same time. After students have completed their exams, ask them to rate their confidence for each question and complete any questions related to how they prepared for the exam (see sample questions in example wrappers/analyses).
  2. Students then turn in their partially-completed wrappers/analyses with their completed exam.
  3. Return graded exams with partially-completed wrappers/analyses.
  4. Ask students to look through their returned exams and answer the questions on the remaining wrapper/analysis questions.
  5. Students return their completed wrapper to the instructor.
  6. The instructor keeps the wrapper and returns it to the student to review about a week prior to the next exam. Students review what they previously noted on their exam wrapper/test analysis so they can make adjustments in preparing for their next exam.

Using paper handouts may not be feasible given your class size or how you administer exams. If you're using online exams, you can utilize Canvas for your exam wrappers or test analyses. One way to do this is to create your wrapper or analysis as a Word document that you upload as an assignment. Students would download the file, open their graded exams, and complete the assignment. You could then review responses in Speed Grader or download their wrappers/analyses. Alternatively, you could setup the wrapper/analysis as its own quiz in Canvas. The benefit of this is that you could have it automatically graded. Students would need to have two windows/tabs open to switch between their graded exam and the wrapper/analysis quiz in Canvas.

Example Wrappers and Test Analyses

The following examples can serve as templates for thinking through your own wrappers and analyses. In addition to these examples, a list of substitute questions is provided to help you think through which questions best fit your wrapper/test analysis. As you develop your wrapper or test analysis, keep it focused and concise so you do not overwhelm your learners.