Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Revision strategy

This year has been a better year for planned revision. Courses ended on time leaving a gap where we could do some in class work. To give ownership of the process to students, we pulled out the syllabus and decided what would be done in class together and what would be done on their own.

For a change students have been completing miscellaneous exercises all year, which is helping considerably in reducing revision requirements as is the increasing use of journals to centralise student notes.

Next students were told to get their revision books and answer the first question in each section (to build confidence, these are usually the easiest). The OT Lee books are best for this but the Purcell ones aren't bad either. Then do q4 of each section, then focus on sections where students are having the most difficulty.

Next I did the normal printing out of exam papers. One of the other maths teachers provided this suggestion on how to use them that I thought was a vast improvement on the usual, "look at the question, look at the answer" model. He suggested for students to read the whole paper and identify which questions they could answer, then (before answering any question) go back to their texts and investigate each topic they could not answer questions for. Only then sit down and answer the paper. I think this is a great idea.

The 11s in particular have used after school classes in addition to revision processes to master key topics. Vectors in year 11 remains a draw on time and is something we will focus more on during summer school. This is the fifth year working on study skills and revision to bring a methodology to aid mid performing students, and I think we are identifying a winning formula.

I'm sure high performing schools have more structured and better processes in place, but these ideas are a vast improvement on what we started with.


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