I was invited to the Science Faculty meeting that was focusing on Improving Year 11 Outcomes, with only a Term to go before the exams what could staff do to make a difference.
Exam Marking tips
Liz Watson shared some thoughts from having marked exam papers last year. Some tips:
- Students must ensure they recognise that some questions use the word Explain
- Students must learn the practicals they have done and explain them in the exam.
- Students must learn the equations in physics.
- Students can annotate the question and graphs
- Another useful tip was that extended prose questions are marked holistically using generic level descriptions common to all science subjects.
The Faculty then divided into their separate subjects and discussed an exam marker’s comments linked to student answers.
The meeting then moved onto a special guest, Ed Bennetts from MFL, to share some cross-curricular tips.
- When learning key vocabulary words, MFL encourage students to use the new vocabulary in a sentence. This would relate easily to Science learning and explaining key words.
- Using 3 steps to differentiate – human; hero and legend – but scientific words could be used for example Chemical Elements. Ensure that in the lesson you scaffold and model how you move from ‘human’ to ‘legend’ to ensure students make progress.
- Point system in challenging students in MFL to use more vocabulary and tenses. Can translate into Science by how you can gain full marks in a question.
- Quizlet – create your own or use those already done.
Leyla Pattison – Stretch and Challenge at A-level Chemistry (but can easily translate into GCSE Challenge)
Leyla had recently been on a course and challenged herself by this quote ‘Need to cultivate a culture of scholastic excellent where the highest achievement in academic work is vitally important.’
There is a need to create expert scientists for A-level and the future through expert teaching.
This can be achieved by adapting existing materials and extending students further. The idea is not to give students more work but give them more challenge.
Ways to do this at GCSE include:
- Giving students example answers and asking them to identify errors
- Get students writing technician notes for required practicals, encouraging students to think about what preparation is needed
- Challenge of the day type questions which can be dipped in and out of.
Leyla also provided an update on the Science Capital working party. Science capital is an innovative teaching approach which challenges student’s perceptions of what science is, who does science and scientific behaviours. This has the overarching aim of raising student’s aspirations and engagement within science.
We have been trialling different methods of increasing science capital including:
- Localising and personalising scientific ideas by using examples relevant to students’ lives
- Story-telling to make concepts more memorable
- Linking concepts with recent news stories which students may have encountered.