What are Progress Check Tests?
Last year we introduced Progress Check Tests (PCT’s) for all students in years 10-13. The Progress Check Tests are formal tests that are completed throughout the year in order to establish how well each student is doing and provide opportunities for support afterwards in a more personalised way. In addition to this it helps prepare the students for the upcoming challenges of their IGCSE or IB external examinations.
Why are they useful?
We found the PCT’s to be useful for both teachers and students as it helped students take responsibility for their revision and begin to think about active revision in preparation for the final examinations. To prepare for each PCT students are asked to revise and review all content learned in lesson up until that point. This is useful as time goes on, as it means that students are regularly revising the content needed for success in their final examinations.
When will they be this year?
The Progress Check Tests will take place at the following times:
Year 10 and 12:
- 6th - 10th November 2017
- 5th March - 9th March
- 21st May-25th May 2018 (End of Year Examinations)
Year 11 and 13:
- 16th - 20th October 2017
- 9th - 19th January 2018 (Trial examinations)
This year we will also introduce two formal testing weeks for Key Stage 3 students. These will be carried out in the following subjects: Mathematics, English, Science, Geography, History, Vietnamese and MFL. The dates of these assessment weeks are below:
Years 7, 8 and 9
- 20th - 24th November 2017
- 28th May - 1st June 2018 (End of Year examinations)
How can I help and support my child in their revision?
A common concern from parents is how they can help their child at home. This will seem especially important in the lead up to examinations.
Whilst all students are provided revision materials and suggestions from their subject teachers, some children need support in finding the best way to revise that is personal to them. This very much depends on individual learning styles and preferences.
For those students in Key Stage 3 and Year 10 this process may still be very new to them and they will need to experiment with different ways of revising to see which way works for them. Years 11-13 may already have found their preferred method but still might need support from parents in organising and using their time in the most effective way possible.
Different revision techniques
Some students learn best when they can see something visual. The list below are revision techniques for students that learn in a more visual way:
- Recopy notes in colours
- Visually organise or reorganise notes using columns, categories, diagrams
- Create timelines, models, charts or grids
- Write/rewrite facts, formulas, hang notes on walls and mirrors around the house for visual review at any time
- Facts, formulas, notes on index cards arranged/rearranged around the house
- Use of colour-coded markers or cards to highlight key pieces of information
- TV/video supplements important for understanding or remembering.
Unlike Visual learners, auditory learners learn through listening and repeating. They generally like to study in groups and retain information when it is repeated over and over again. Revision techniques include:
- Discussing concepts/facts/aspects with friends immediately after new learning
- Tape recording lessons or notes for re-listening later
- Repeating facts/formulas/information over and over again in order to retain it
- Setting information to rhyme, rhythm, or music to aid retention
- Learning by listening rather than taking notes
- Revising with friends and having group discussion and/or study groups
- Use of background music to help with concentration
Kinesthetic learners often find revison the most challenging as they learn through action and doing. Below are some suggestions of how to support your child if they are a more ‘active’ learner:
- Assemble charts and diagrams - the act of assembling the chart will aid retention of information.
- Take regular breaks to enable time for moving around whilst processing the information.
- Combining an activity and revision - it may be useful for students to go for a walk whilst listening to recorded revision notes.
- Flashcards - create flashcards and stick them around the house, this will require physical activity. Perhaps even have different cards for the key word and definition and the aim is to match the concept and definition.
Any further advice?
Once your child has found the revision strategy for them it is time to get started. Parents can support them in the following ways:
- Start early even NOW. If students are regularly reviewing lessons/notes they have more chance of retaining and understanding even the most difficult concepts.
- Help them identify their weakest subjects and allow more time for the revision of the areas they find difficult.
- Concentration can be lost between 30 minutes and 1 hour so allow a short break of 5 minutes every hour.
- Help them plan a revision timetable. More time should be spent on subjects they find challenging. Also help them think about the best times of day to revise.
- Make revision active.
- Support them emotionally by talking to them about their worries or concerns.
- Minimise possible distractions.
As always subject teachers are available to support students and if there is something they really don’t understand encourage them to approach their teachers for help.
Our recent examination results are a testament to the success of the Progress Check Tests and the hard work of the teachers and students when preparing for them. We are confident that this year's Year 11 and 13 can do even better. So let’s work together to make that happen.
Ms. Nicola Witton, Assistant Head Teaching & Learning