Cover-Copy-Compare

Students who can be trusted to work independently and need extra drill and practice with math computational problems, spelling, or vocabulary words will benefit from Cover-Copy-Compare.

Preparing Cover-Copy-Compare Worksheets:

The teacher prepares worksheets for the student to use independently:

  • For math worksheets, computation problems with answers appear on the left side of the sheet. The same computation problems appear on the right side of the page, unsolved. Here is a sample CCC item for math:
  • For spelling words, correctly spelled words are listed on the left of the page, with space on the right for the student to spell each word.
  • For vocabulary items, words and their definitions are listed on the left side of the page, with space on the right for the student to write out each word and a corresponding definition for that word.

Using Cover-Copy-Compare Worksheets for Student Review:

When first introducing Cover-Copy-Compare worksheets to the student, the teacher gives the student an index card. The student is directed to look at each correct item (e.g., correctly spelled word, computation problem with solution) on the left side of the page.

  • (For math problems.) The student is instructed to cover the correct model on the left side of the page with an index card and to copy the problem and compute the correct answer in the space on the right side of the sheet. The student then uncovers the correct answer on the left and checks his or her own work.
  • (For spelling problems.) The student is instructed to cover the correct model on the left side of the page with an index card and to spell the word in the space on the right of the sheet. The student then uncovers the correct answer on the left to check his or her work.
  • (For vocabulary items.) The student is instructed to cover the correct model on the left side of the page with an index card and to write both the word and its definition in the space on the right side of the sheet. The student then uncovers the correct model on the left to check his or her work.

Troubleshooting: How to Deal With Common Problems in Using 'Cover-Copy-Compare'

Q: How do I respond if the student simply copies the correct answers from the models into the answer blanks and tries to pass this off as his or her own work?

An essential requirement of Cover-Copy-Compare is that the student cover the correct model and attempt independently to solve the item using his or her own skills. if the student simply copies the correct answer from the model math problem or spelling word, the review process is short-circuited and the student will not benefit. If you suspect a student will copy rather than attempt to solve items on a CCC worksheet, arrange to have a peer tutor, adult in the classroom, or parent sit with the student to provide encouragement and monitoring.

Q: I have a student who is so disorganized that he will lose the index card before he can complete a CCC worksheet. Any suggestions?

Here is an idea for getting rid of that index card: You can fold the worksheet in half length-wise so that the answers appear on one side of the folded worksheet and the answer blanks appear on the other side. For each item, the student will peer at the correct model, then flip the folded sheet over to the right side to independently solve the item (with the correct model neatly folded out of sight).

Jim's Hints

When using CCC worksheets, add an occasional item (e.g., vocabulary word, math problem) that the student has already mastered. These review items are great for refreshing student skills on learned material and can also give the teacher an indication of how well the student is retaining academic skills.

You can boost student motivation by praising the student for his or her efforts in completing the worksheets. You might also want to have the student build a portfolio of completed CCC worksheets. In reviewing this portfolio of work periodically, the student can see tangible evidence of improvement in his or her academic skills.