Print Lesson PDF
The subscriber course provides complete walkthroughs for every exam answer, and the reading sample in a following lesson provides a small taste of those walkthroughs. Traditional answer explanations rarely help students who do not get the correct answer. Our walkthroughs focus on the wrong answers in detail, why they are wrong, what tricks the test designers played on untrained test takers, and how to identify similar attributes on test day.
Why Walkthroughs and How to Use Grade Reports
Every online exam is automatically timed, scored, and a grade report is generated as follows. Each grade report is saved for subscribers and available at any future time for additional study from the main menu My Reports. Find your applicable exam from the list of taken exams which can be filtered by math and ELA lessons and exams. If there were multiple attempts for a single exam, a toggle will appear below the exam name which will expand to reveal the different dates and scores. Click the “View” link to the right to open any particular grade report. The grade reports are organized with the scores and grades on the 1st section. The 2nd section will show all incorrect or incomplete answers. The 3rd section will display a complete explanation and walkthrough for every question.
Section 1 – Scores & Grades:
Students and parents or teachers alike can see the number of questions attempted, correct answers, and the total number of questions on the exam. The percentage score and raw point total will be provided in the report as well as average scores for all test takers and the student percentile rank. Scaled scores with appropriate specialized high school cut-offs will often be included as well. Students can ask questions online about any problem and see statistics for every answer to every question.
Section 2 – Incorrect (& Incomplete) Answers:
Sections 2 and 3 are designed to facilitate exam results analysis. This is arguably the most important aspect of standardized test preparation. Only student answers are highlighted in the second section, so students can quickly locate their mistakes and attempt to solve the problems again at a future date or before reviewing the walkthrough, section 3.
Section 3 – Complete Walkthroughs vs. Answer Explanations
Most preparation courses provide answer explanations that do not help students better understand their mistakes, which is a critical part of improving scores. Instead, we replace stale, old explanations with complete walkthroughs to identify why each incorrect answer fails based on the criteria required for the correct answer and to highlight the typical traps in the answer choices. The lessons you learn in this course will teach you how to best take advantage of standardized reading exams like the SHSAT (and PSAT/SAT for that matter), and those approaches will be applied throughout the walkthroughs. Each passage walkthrough, for example, will begin with an outline of the passage structure and method of development. We provide many possible solution strategies where applicable while identifying the fastest solution among the possible approaches. Each walkthrough will additionally highlight subject-matter lessons, so students can learn the related material if they need to improve subject matter knowledge. In short, every good answer explanation should indicate the following:
1. Exactly why the right answer is correct — what attributes does the answer have that you can expect to encounter on other right answers you will see on test day?
2. Exactly why the wrong answer is incorrect — what attributes does the answer have that you can expect to encounter on other wrong answers you will see on test day?
3. If applicable, the fastest and easiest way you could have arrived at the right answer.
4. The attributes of the question that will appear in other questions on test day, so you can exploit them when you see them in the future.
5. The tricks that the test designer tried to play on untrained test takers when it constructed the question, and how you can avoid similar tricks on test day
6.The core lessons covered by each question.
In general, typical answer explanations alone do not address these issues. On reading questions in particular, other answer explanations often provide some limited or circular statement that amounts to saying, “Option A is correct because it is the right answer, and the other choices are wrong because they are not correct.” Consider the following example of an actual answer explanation to a reading problem that is representative of many. The question prompt asks about the function of a line of text from the passage and the correct answer is it “provides humorous insight” into the main character in the passage. The explanation quotes a few lines of text in support of the right answer suggesting these quotes show the character has a “sense of humor”. In other words, the answer “humorous insight” is correct because the chosen quotes suggest something humorous. The “explanation” doesn’t tell us why the quoted lines are humorous! As a result, a student doesn’t know how to identify something humorous in the future for the real exam. The explanation concludes by telling us the wrong answers are incorrect because they do not fit with the quoted text — no explanation why and no insight into how students can identify similar wrong answers in the future. “Humor’ for standardized exams generally does not mean “funny”. It usually means something “unexpected” occurred. After all, funny is a subjective concept and different possible interpretations could invalidate a standardized reading exam. However, an “unexpected” behavior or event is an objective way to define the term “humor” and that is useful for test takers to know. Even when “explanations” provide more detailed answers, they usually fail to help students learn the deeper lesson from a problem to apply to future questions. Walkthroughs are designed to help teachers better convey the right concepts and help students learn more effectively.