The Red X

More and more education professionals and experts are advocating discontinuing use of the red pen when “correcting” tests, evaluations, quizzes, or whatever they’re calling assessments today.  Visit for one such article.  Do a search on “Throw away your red pen” and you’ll find more articles about it.

The point is that tests marked with a red “X” call attention to mistakes, rather than motivate students for what they got correct.

Perhaps a green smiley face would be more appropriate.  After all, supervisors in the workplace give out green smiley faces all the time, right?

Seriously, though, the practice may have some merit.  No one likes to be “corrected,” but they do appreciate being “coached.”  It may be that a simple change of practice like this could go a long way in creating improvement in students.  It’s the little shifts that sometimes have a huge impact.  As the line from the movie National Treasure posits, “Could it really be that simple?”  It’s probably worth a try.

Interestingly, in a recent article from US News, Alabama ranked 47th out of 50 states in the organization’s assessment of the best states for education (  Knowing that subliminal connections are sometimes incredibly powerful, what do you think the state’s flag looks like? (Big hint:  Look at this week’s article’s featured image.)