Inverted Test

Students are given a test completed by fictitious student to identify mistakes and describe how they would approach or solve the problem.


This activity promotes a growth mindset by normalizing mistakes and encouraging students to focus on their own understanding, instead of just getting the correct answer.  


  1. Give students a test completed by a fictitious student who did not do very well.
  2. Ask your students to correct the fictitious student’s test. Students should:
    • Identify mistakes the fictitious student made.
    • Explain each mistake, the conceptual idea relevant to each mistake, and how they themselves would approach or solve the problem.
    • Identify what the fictitious student understood well.
  3. Evaluate students in terms of how many mistakes they identify and how well they explain the mistakes and underlying conceptual ideas. Use this exercise instead of a traditional test. It truly taps students’ understanding. Try it 2-3 times to help students get the hang of it. Remind students that when they get their own tests and homework back they should do the same thing - look for and learn from mistakes.
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