How to Use Test Corrections in the Classroom


Do you struggle with how to use test corrections? Do you want a free test corrections template? Then this post is for you!

Test corrections were always a hot button topic when I was in the classroom. Many teachers adamantly opposed giving test corrections.

They would say that students shouldn’t get a second chance because there would be no test corrections in college.

While I understand their point, I still allowed my students to do test corrections every year. This post will explain why I offered them and how to make sure they’re effective.

Why You Should Offer Test Corrections

When test corrections are offered in an effective way, they allow students to learn from their mistakes.

When I was a high school student, I always thoroughly analyzed every test I got back from a teacher to see the mistakes I made.

However, many of my students would only look at their grade and then throw their test away. They would not go back to questions they missed.

I always thought that was such a waste because they aren’t actually LEARNING from their mistakes. My tests were cumulative, so they would make the same mistakes on the next test.

That’s why I started allowing my students to correct their mistakes. I knew some students needed incentive to review their test and close their gaps in learning.

Offer Them After Every Test

The day after every unit test, I gave students half the class period to work on test corrections. I was on block schedule, so they had about 45 minutes.

I know that time will be an issue for many teachers, especially if you are on a 6 or 7 period day. An alternative could be scheduling a before or after school test correction session. You could also allow students to work on them for homework.

I would give students 4-5 days to complete them and turn them in.

Give Students the Correct Answer

When I gave students their test back, I would give them the correct answer to every question (make sure all absent students have taken the test first).

I did this so students would not be focused on the right answer. They would be focused on WHY the answer is right.

On my test correction form (get a free copy at the end of this post), students would put their answer, the correct answer, and then an explanation or work.

Make Students Explain and Show Work

Because I gave students the right answer, they could not just say “The correct answer is A.” for a test correction. These types of test corrections are NOT EFFECTIVE!

Students need to explain in words or by showing work WHY the correct answer is correct.

Only then will I truly be able to see if they have learned from their mistakes.

I always told their test correction should say, “The correct answer is ___ because _______.”

Offer an Incentive for Completing Test Corrections

When students turned in their corrections, I added points back to their test.

I usually added 1 point back for multiple choice and 2 points back for free response questions.

However, they only received points if they explained or showed work correctly! They did not get any points just for completing the test corrections! This is important.

By giving points back to students, they had some incentive for completing the corrections. I never gave back so many points that a student could pass my class just because they corrected their mistakes. I wanted the incentive to be small but effective.

Help Students with Them

If a student didn’t understand why they missed a question, then I helped them with the question.

I would help them set up the problem or ask leading questions so that they could explain the right answer.

If the whole class did poorly on the test, I would take questions at the board and go over the question for the whole class.

I also had students come before or after school to get help with test corrections if they were really struggling.

I always loved seeing the “lightbulb” go off when I helped them to understand why they missed a question. And when they got that question right on the next test, I knew they had truly learned from their mistakes.

Click here to get my FREE test corrections template! (This will take you to my Teachers Pay Teachers Store. If you don’t have an account, it’s free to create one! Then you can download the template for free.)

Do you use test corrections in your classroom? Let me know below!

If you want some more classroom tips, you might like my post on high school classroom management!

Happy Teaching!

You have the ability to create amazing resources for your classroom! Head to LindsayBowden.com/Training to sign up for my FREE training on creating engaging math resources!



  • Yes I do as a remedial work. Your suggestions are good, But i am just worried that this may take a big portion of my class time. In all cases, I would for sure use what you have suggested here and keep it rotating e.g. this week I will use the test form, next week i will schedule office hours and in another occasion offer an incentive.


  • I am not a “Brand New” teacher, but I am new enough that I know there are things I am not doing that can improve the student learning. Test corrects is one of those things. It is unfortunate that there is so little time, and in Middle School, it feels like there is even less. However, I plan on doing test corrections this week for the Summative tests we took in the first quarter of the year. I purposefully planned to do this by freeing up my schedule.

    My “game plan” is to have every student (even the ones who passed the test) complete a Test correction form. I will indicate the “money” questions that should be done for points back. These are for everyone. If they go them wrong to begin with, they get 1/2 points back for that question. If they got them right to begin with, they get extra credit for the same point value. I am not a huge fan of extra credit, but I want all students to practice this and so there should be some pay off for them as a result.

    Thank you for sharing your form and your process. I know that there are many new and experienced teachers who have shied away from this process for one reason or another, and I appreciate your putting your process out here. It makes adding Test Corrections to my routine much easier.

  • I really love this idea and have tried similar things in the past, but with the thought of giving them the answer so they can focus on the why is brilliant. No matter how many times I asked my students to show their work, they would just choose a random answer and say “because I know.” I was wondering what you do with students who did well on the test and only require a little to no time doing corrections. Did you have them do extension activities while the others worked on their corrections? Thanks for all the ideas!

    • I’m so glad this was helpful! For students who don’t need corrections: I usually have extra credit activity on their laptops!

  • Hey Lindsay, thank you for the tips. I recently moved from kindergarten to 5th grade and wondered how I could make the test corrections, less of me reteaching and more on the students. I honestly wasn’t sure how to grade the corrections (should I average the grades, replace the grade, give partial points, make it extra credit…). This document and your tips are what I needed, without knowing.

    Thank you for sharing!

    • So glad it was helpful! I usually just add back half credit for each corrected question!


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