Every year students complain about exam questions you didn’t teach them. The basic cause is the ‘teach and hope’ strategy Teach what’s in the syllabus, practise past papers and hope that students can apply what they know (I certainly used to do that).
Clearly though, that strategy often doesn’t work. And there are 60% of the marks for what’s not directly taught – Assessment Objective 2 – applying ideas to new situations, nor AO3 – analysing information.
But, I hear you say, those abilities just develop with practice, you can’t teach them. Oh, but they often don’t and you can! And you must if you want more students to pass. With only 40% of the marks for AO1, students will be hard pressed to get the 35% they need to get a C, or grade 4, if all they can do is recall knowledge.
So how, then? The short answer is: teach the cognitive processes underlying AO2 and AO3.
The slightly more practical answer is: we are creating a ‘Mastery Workbook’ that breaks down the processes, and provides a systematic pathway towards the problems they need to be able to do. Together, the Workbook, and the AO1-3 learning objectives in the 5-year curriculum will give you a plan of attack for AO2 and AO3.
OK, so you want more details: what we teach for ‘Apply’ is the essential features of each concept, how to recognise when to use them, and a reliable process for solving unfamiliar problems. ‘Analyse’ is actually 5-6 different processes. We teach them step by step, using worked examples, graphic organisers and guided practice.
Is it like a revision guide? Yes and no. The Mastery Workbook will be a valuable, low-cost resource. Just that it’s for learning not cramming. It will also give students a lot more practice on the difficult things, rather than filling in information. I’ll be sharing more details about the Workbook in the next post …
Meanwhile, have any of you tried to deliberately teach for AO2 and AO3? Please comment!