strategies banner

Rock and Roll Item Review


Students analyze complex test questions in six different ways to determine mistakes in content and thinking.


  • Assessment question(s)
  • Dice (or a virtual die)
  • Rock and Roll Item Review handout (projected)
  • Rock and Roll Item Review template (English/Spanish)
  • Rock and Roll Item Review template – RLA comprehension (English/Spanish)


  1. Organize students into thinking partners and provide each pair with a die (or virtual die).
  2. Present students with an assessment question.
  3. Student pairs take turns rolling the die and analyzing the question based on the task associated with the number rolled:
    • 1 = state the concept or big idea
    • 2 = explain the importance of the visual/genre
    • 3 = communicate your plan for answering
    • 4 = select the worst answer choice (justify)
    • 5 = determine the distractor (justify)
    • 6 = determine the correct answer (justify)
  4. Students continue rolling the die until they have completed all the activities for each assessment question.
  5. Observe students’ thinking and clarify/verify as appropriate.
  6. Students summarize what they learned in writing and note how to avoid mistakes in the future.

Classroom Management

  • Model the strategy with a simple, fun question before using the strategy with academic content.
  • Allow students to roll the dice ten times to get it “out of their system,” roll dice on a book to avoid noise, or use a virtual die.
  • Consider using the strategy as a learning station.
  • Remind students there will be no harm or humiliation for incorrect answers because correcting mistakes is a sign of intelligence!


  • Promote access by previewing the question and pairing with a supportive peer/adult.
  • Provide response support by providing thinking stems and/or providing the answers to #4, #5, and #6 so students focus only on the justification.

Think It Up!

  • Have students think more deeply about the concept by responding to a Think It Up prompt as an exit ticket or journal entry:
    • Predict how to avoid a careless mistake about this concept.
    • Analyze the Rock and Roll Item Review game board and change one of the prompts.
  • Encourage students to use lead4ward’s Thinking Stems (English/Spanish) to frame their responses, if needed.