As part of my fall unit plan, I gave a pre-assessment in the form of completing a graphic organizer. I explained that this would be the same document as the post-assessment (the one when they are graded). I noted that three of my students had been absent for the pre-assessment and that these students remained insufficiently versed with the graphic organizer.
While I had provided them with the same instructions on completing the organizer and given them copies of the organizer, they had not attempted to complete it.
To offer them needed practice, and also allow all students to prepare for the test, I introduced a “group shared test taking” activity. I explained that this was the same document as the quiz that they would get the next morning. I reiterated the instructions on completing the graphic organizer and told them that this was their opportunity to “cheat” or “share answers” as that would not be allowed tomorrow.
Most students took to this quickly; however, some students opted not to work with other students or share answers. These students did not do as well as the students who worked in groups. In many ways, this activity validated Vygotsky’s theories about the ZOPD.