After a Practice Paper

Students know more than they think

Finally, I finished marking the papers but now what?!

As teachers, we spend so much time marking our lives away, so I spent some time (whilst marking ofcourse) thinking of ways to ensure students act on feedback or make it worth my while!

So after marking my Year 11’s February mocks, I noticed the vast majority hadn't revised properly, resulting in a huge range of results and making me feel like I needed to revisit topics. As normal, it made me worry, stress and over eat and I couldn't face the thought of analyzing it! I didn't want to shout or moan as this class is so fragile and I didn't want them to feel my tension or affect their confidence.

I gave them their results individually and said with revision, they’d have done better. I wanted to raise their belief and motivation, and show them that amongst them there is so much mathematical knowledge in the classroom, most importantly, without me! I drew up a chart of all the questions, (see picture) and asked students to cut up coloured pieces of paper with their name and question number they achieved full marks on only, and called them up to the board table by table to glue their under the correct question number for both their papers.

Now it's their turn to help me, help them!

At the end of this exercise, they could see overall which students were doing better than them and who they could approach for help and understanding on a question that they didn’t gain full marks on. It was an effective way of peer teaching, collaborative learning and an exam analysis that is useful for me with an opportunity for me to work closely with the students who did poorly.

Students then make corrections on their paper with another colour, and notes in to the back of their books to show what new knowledge they had made with the help of each other.

After student feedback, it was clear all students had understood how to improve their marks in two topics, and why they lost marks in the first place.

Upon reflection, I thought that I could have saved some time by just making pupils write their names straight in to the columns on the chart instead of the whole coloured paper malarkey (even though it looks really nice). Also, I thought of possible ways this could be extended and developed; students entering their marks per question in to a spreadsheet ( at most 5 mins per student) and RAG-ing themselves. I will also do the same chart with their next mock paper, but add topic names on to the top of each column along with the question number so my class can have “topic experts,” and most importantly, to allow me to see if there is a pattern between the papers and progress. (I am hoping more names will be under headings and columns showing full marks each time they sit a paper).

I hope you find this useful for your subject!