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"Under Pressure”, have we made an impact?

As we approached the second year of our research it became clear the pressure was on. Had we made an impact on the students, the staff and the school? It was now time to analyse, reflect and adapt.

I was thinking about how to best present some key aspects of our Action Research so far and I came to the conclusion that an old fashioned, cheesy WWW and EBI approach would do the trick…so here goes…

What went well:

  • Creating a lesson on developing the skills and understanding of how to answer new style exam questions. Through this students were able to see the techniques needed for analysing, explaining, developing and giving examples. Furthermore through exemplars and self-marking students were able to have a better understanding of the mark scheme.

  • Having a comparison of Year 9 answers and grades from test pre and post Action Research allowed us to see whether there had been an improvement in development in answers as well as a use of higher order skills – which there had been.

  • Conducting a questionnaire looking at how much students understood and felt ready for GCSE style questions. We have been able to analyse this data to help move forward on how to help Year 9 with the demands of GCSE.

Even better if:

  • We need to continue to find more ways to successfully analyse and use the “soft” data. For example, how confident students feel in answering detail assessment questions and how ready they are for GCSE exam questions.

  • Another area of focus needs to be on ALL students (not just the high achievers and fully engaged students).

  • Due to content restrictions and question compatibility, we need to find a way to model this for Year 7 an 8 students.

So where do we go from here…

  • As a Faculty we are all using RED PEN TASKS in our KS3 lessons – which are specifically developed GCSE style questions students need to answer at the end of key topic areas. These are in turn a real focus of marking for the faculty.

  • To continue to track our focus group students into Year 10.

  • To continue to develop the remaining KS3 end of unit assessments to reflect the changes at GCSE.

Natalie Short

Notley High School

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