Back to basics is more than an ill fated Conservative policy. Over the past year many changes have taken place in the department, and I am now having some time to reflect. There was no curriculum and GCSE standards were way below standard (33% compared with 59% school average).
We are now on track to see a major jump this summer. So what have we done differently? The main focus has been using exam style questions each and every lesson and using the reports and mark schemes produced by the Chief Examiners. These hold a wealth of information. An example of a lesson is this
- The starter gets pupils to apply what they know to an exam question.
- As a class we write a ‘perfect’ answer.
- I share the mark scheme. In this case we focused on Level Marking. Pupils often have trouble in getting their head around this aspect.
- Pupils then mark an example question. I get these from within the examiners report. Often there are examples of top answers – saving time and allowing pupils to handle actual answers. Pupils mark the answer.
- The examiners comments are then shared.
I have found that this strategy not only increases the confidence of the class but also allows them to apply knowledge to unseen exam questions.