Bridging the Gap

We had a group called Lindisfarne Press in school today, mostly working with the lower sixth form and running a series of seminars entitled ‘Bridging the Gap’.

They covered several aspects of summative assessment at KS5 and pointed out a few obvious (now) things that perhaps some of us weren’t aware – at least not from the students’ point of view. I know this because they also had a session after school – a cross between a debrief and a summary.

The main things I came out of it with were (in no particular order):

  • Just how close some of the grade boundaries are.  28/60 might be an E but 34 could be a C. So 6 marks can have a student jump up (or down) 2 grades. So when you give a pupil with a D grade piece of work feedback, then give them the grade boundaries instead of the grade. It’s easier to go up 6 marks than it is to go up 2 grades.
  • Chunking exam (& coursework) questions. We went into a lot of detail about how to break down even a short exam question into 6-8 chunks (often one word per chunk). What does ‘investigate’ mean? Is ‘and’ a joining word or a separating word? ([Describe] how the [World Wide Web] {and} [other technological improvements] have [affected] the way [people collect] [information].)
  • It might be worth resitting an A graded unit if you only just scraped 240 UMS points as the potential other 60 would also carry through to other units (only 17% of people go up a grade or more from AS-A2). If AS is a lower level than A2 (and it is) then it might be worth trying to make up some UMS points at the lower level since they’re weighted equally.

Unfortunately I had to leave early (I say early, the hour long meeting was already 90 minutes old) but it certainly seemed a useful exercise. Apparently the 6th formers have been wandering around all day singing (to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle):

If you get just 3 or 4
You need to chunk a little more

If you get 5, 6 or 7
You will be in exam heaven
…yeah! (apparently the ‘yeah’ is very important to the 2 year old inside all of us)

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