Several mathematics educators were kind enough to share their tips on how they create a successful end of course review for their students. There’s an enormous range and depth of ideas here to consider.

Note: If you’re an NQT, please try not to use all of these tips at once: I feel a need to share this friendly advice as the goal is to make your reviews better, not insurmountable.

Note 2: If you have a tip not covered below, please feel free to click the pink POST button and share. (You’ll need to sign up here first to be able to contribute.)

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And don’t forget to check out my recent interview with Henri Picciotto!

One thing I really believe strongly in is to have students recall what they remember about what they’ve learned prior before I reteach anything. Usually this just means giving students unit titles/topics and giving them time to write important ideas and everything they remember from each unit, work together to compare/add/correct, then review together as a class. This gives me feedback on what they remember, as well as misconceptions and misunderstandings that still exist.

As a follow up, in groups of four, students make a poster of important ideas for a specific unit (assigned by me). Then we do a gallery walk and groups review, discuss, and add to each poster. Groups return to their original poster and review anything new. We review as a class, and address any huge errors or misconceptions, if any. This helps me tailor final review activities in following days according to the needs of each class.

I would recommend adding a Confidence Rating to each question in a course review.

Any course review (summative end of year exam) can be adapted to include a measure students’ confidence in their answers (my example is a simple 1 to 4 scale, with 4 representing the most confident).

These rating can be used to add an additional insight into learners progress... under/over confidence and reveal when students have just guessed.

Most important is all this valuable additional information doesn’t increase the teacher’s workload

This method is based on @colinfoster77 preliminary research.

Colin is a Reader in Mathematics Education in the Mathematics Education Centre at Loughborough University.

When compiling ideas for end of the year review, it is imperative to leave students with the large, macro ideas that summarize the course and offer continuity going forwards. The review should also allow for students to critique the course and also a chance to demonstrate mastery of topics through alternative assessments other than tests or exams. These could include portfolios, presentations, or interviews. Mathematics is about communication, and giving opportunity for various kinds of communication regarding end-of-the-year material will not only help in the consolidation process, but it will also illuminate the learning of mathematics in the widest possible spectrum, and accommodating all learners and learning styles.

I have changed the way I review pupil’s learning over the last couple of years. I find it better to give regular, short quizzes throughout rather than just one big assessment at the end. I give “3-2-1 retrieval practice” questions at the start of most lessons. Children are awarded points based on the difficulty in retrieving information. Questions from last lesson are worth 1 point, questions from last week are 2 points) and from last term/topic are worth 3 points as these are the hardest. With regular practice this helps with any final assessments.

My favorite way to prepare students for their final exam is to post a study guide on Google Slides. Dedicate a topic with a couple questions related to that topic on each slide and give students either editing or commenting access. What I love about this is that it builds a community of learners and they can ask and answer each other's questions. They can also collaborate outside of the classroom and remotely as well. Highly recommend.

I haven’t done much research on effective review strategies, but a recent study from Stanford suggests that giving students chances to practice recall of information (which is different from practicing the information itself) is the most effective.

I don’t have any experience with that, but as a classroom teacher, I broke up the power standards, placed students in pairs, and let them each take 20 minutes to be teacher for a day. I felt that depth of review was a better practice than reviewing the breath of a whole year’s content.

My revision strategies are in the most geared towards my A-Level students. I recommend varying things up a bit. Ultimately students just need to do as much maths as they possibly can in the run up to an exam. I like to mix exam practice with some cardsorts and relay competitions for example just to keep things fresh. I put most of the activities I make up on my website. Go to