Discussing a test: The CLIL way

October 5, 2015


There is (at least) one thing every teacher does at every school. Worldwide.

Discussing a test.

But how can you do this in a way that is CLIL? In other words, by activating the language and engaging the students?

Let me tell you how I do this, and feel free to add your ideas!

Own responsibility

Discussing a test is one of those moments teachers might revert into a teacher focused lesson. I have that tendency as well.

This might result in a lengthy and boring lesson.

Yet, discussing a test is one of the most suited lesson moments to diversify and differentiate your approach.

Students who understand the question don’t need the explanation, nor do you want to skip to many questions right?

This calls for the own responsibility of the students. It is their test, it is their work, it is their learning process.

Too often I find discussed tests in the dustbin when I leave a classroom. This not only hurts my feelings a little (I also put work in checking that test!) but it is a waste to throw away the tests (No pun intended).

The tests can be valuable learning opportunities for your students, if they only realized what they can do to learn from their mistakes.

So, how can you do this?

The step by step procedure

The goal of this activity is to establish two reasons for discussing the test:

Make students aware of their own responsibility and allowing some freedom in their checking

Make students realize they should learn from their mistakes

So, here’s what I do:

1)            I tell the students they will receive their tests, the original questions and a blank sheet of paper. On the blank sheet of paper they should write their names.

2)            On the paper, students have to write down the questions they had wrong on the test and do these again. They are allowed to use their books, notes and partners to find information. This encourages speaking.

3)            At the end of the lesson, they have to hand in the paper. (Do I have to explain the output here? ;))

By setting the rule that students have to hand in their work, they will be more motivated to take the task serious. Furthermore, it gives you a detailed report on their progress.

To make the task even easier, you can provide them with a handout like the one below. However, do realize that some students have a handwriting that might require a little more space for each question.Test discussion answer sheet_Page_1

Follow up

After having done this activity, I like to discuss questions that were done wrong a lot. Afterwards, I might pair students who had the same questions wrong and urge them to find the answers themselves.

It is important to note that I am only available for questions regarding the points during this part of the activity. I will not answer any questions regarding the chapter or whatever the test was about.

By doing this I train students to become learners instead of listeners. I want them to be able to find information and answers themselves and start training them for that as soon as possible.

One more thing to note. I recently used this activity in one of my classes. One student handed in a paper with only one corrected answer, while he should have written down a lot more. Afterwards, I asked the student about this and he told me he had trouble with the speed at which we work.

Together we figured out what would work for him during the next lessons. A valuable lesson I would not have been able to figure out without having students hand in their corrected work.


I hope this activity proves useful to you. I am well aware this is not the only way to discuss a test, so feel free to add to this! Just send me a mail or a comment below and I’ll be sure to mention it in future post.

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