Heading for High GCSE Grades

Following on from my previous posts on marking GCSE mock examinations, GCSE Mathematics – Marking Mock Examinations and GCSE Mathematics, one of the tasks on my To Do List is to write helpful reports for Year 11.

Something I do regulaly when writing reports is to ask the students if there is anything they think I should acknowledge (they know that I have to agree with the suggestions having seen the skill and/or learning behaviours in class!) I am pleased to say I know my students well but asking them can provide real insight into what is important to them and what they are proud of. I find Google forms excellent for getting feedback from students, my questions (clearly intended for my students in my school setting) to my students are here. The questions on this particular form are intended as writing prompts for my students. Their responses are thoughtful and highly articulate. I am so pleased at their understanding of their own learning; they are clearly aware of what they need to review further and which topics they are comfortable with. The question by question analysis certainly heps with this.

In my previous posts I mentioned that I gave them an analysis on the A01, A02 and A03 Assessment Objectives.

Providing able students with information works; many referred to the fact that they like the many resources we provide them with. Our school VLE has all the AQA Topic Tests for example and a large collection of resources they can use. One student commented that she did most of the AQA Topic tests, also past paper questions – a strategy which clearly worked as she achieved an exceptionally high mark. She also referenced the Assessment Objectives in her reflection.

Another student, also with an exceptionally high mark on AQA Practice Papers, Set 3 said that she needs to make make sure that she fewer silly mistakes. Her strategy: “Do even more practice questions when I revise than I do already.”
There’s a common theme of course –

do lots of questions, then do some more!            



A student commented that she feels comfortable asking questions in class.
So very important, Dylan Wiliam puts it well.

(See Assessment & Feedback in Mathematics for further information).


Learning Scientists – Retrieval Practice

As we often do following a test, having reviewed the work we did a Mini Test, this was actually more of a maxi-mini test as I went through the mock papers making sure I asked questions on the most common errors and some facts students had forgotten as they had not studied those topics for some time. We marked this in class and students have annotated their work well, noting the need to review particular topics.

Looking at their mini tests has been very informative, students have clearly reviewed their mock examination answers with the model answers. Interesingly though, some (far less) of the same errors were seen. A small number were unsure of exponential graphs and also of the more sophisticated manipulation needed with functions; for example reflecting a quadratic in the y axis or finding an expression for f(x-2) given x. We’ll be doing regular mini tests!

Mathsbot - Revision Grid

Mathsbot – Revision Grid

I will use revision resources they will be able to use themselves at home such as Diagnostic Questions and resources such as those referenced here. I think we’ll start next week with a little graph sketching!

I have created classes on Diagnostic Questions and gave my Year 11 class the class code to join yesterday – today I can see a student has already done of the AQA quizzes and got 16/16 – she got a 9 in the mock!