Since my students already know that this assessment will be individual, they come to class ready to work independently so I have the exam papers face down on their desks ready for them when they come in. They may begin working as soon as the bell rings, to provide equal time for all students regardless of what their previous class is. My video explains why having this assessment be student-created is important. I have included sample exam questions if you need to add some to what your students create or if you're really not comfortable using student-generated questions.
While my students are testing I take the opportunity to walk and observe which ones are still struggling with which skills and/or content pieces. Because of the assortment of problems in this assessment, students have the opportunity to build skills at making sense of and persevering to solve problems, reason abstractly and quantitatively, model with mathematics and use tools appropriately. For example, the real-world problems need all these skills as students move from sorting out the meaning of each problem to creating a model to solve the problem and then solving it. (MP1, MP2, MP4, MP5) By the time they turn in the tests at the end of class I can usually tell whether or not I'll need to do any reteaching or individual remediation.
I post the following questions on the board before the end of class and ask my students to answer them on the back of their test. Their responses give me feedback about this approach to creating meaningful assessments.
I've shared two student responses to the wrap up questions below which I think exemplify the range of feelings expressed.
Student #1 makes it clear that he didn't value writing the questions and really doesn't want much reading or writing in his math! His is a good example of the thinking I regularly encounter from students who are either focused just on grades or who are less concerned about actually learning and more concerned with just getting school done. I keep working to engage these students and persuade them that there's more to math (or science, or English) than just completing assignments and getting grades. I routinely include real-world problems in my lessons and make connections as we discuss and work through problems in class.
Student #2 on the surface reads like the perfect student but when I spoke with her she expressed concern about whether or not she'd written the "right things" on her paper. This indicates to me that she's also focused on being correct more than on perhaps her learning. In fact, the first student was more honest in expressing himself.
Reading through all the responses I found that the majority said they liked writing questions because they liked having their own questions on the test, so at some level I'm seeing success with this assessment strategy and I will continue to work on helping my students assume responsibility for what and how they learn!