Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /var/sites/l/learningnet.co.uk/public_html/geography/schools/kingedward/Activ/AS rivers/functions.php on line 272
Rasing the A* % in results

Author Topic: Rasing the A* % in results  (Read 3169 times)

Maddie87

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 18
    • View Profile
Rasing the A* % in results
« on: December 04, 2013, 05:43:49 PM »
Hi,

I am having to run how to get an A* revision session after Christmas in order to boost grades. My strengths are more at the C/D borderline and increasing those grades, so I am looking for some ideas on what I could do with the A* students that would be beneficial to them and make them really think about how to get their A*.

Thank you in advanced.

kevincooper777

  • Established Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 364
    • View Profile
Re: Rasing the A* % in results
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2013, 08:25:50 PM »
I guess these are fairly obvious points, but...
(1) really know the whole Spec - especially the key terms
(2) actually precisely answer the question being asked [including describe v explain and addressing other command words like 'compare', 'justify', etc.] - as an experienced examiner I can tell you that is actually relatively rare!
(3) be careful and accurate - e.g. in graph interpretation etc. - amazing how many 'top' students lose marks on the 'easy' Qs
(4) include good geographical terms on longer answers [especially with new emphasis on extended answers] - I tell my students to re-read their answers and ask themselves "could a 10 year old have written this?" - often the answer is 'yes' - whereas a 10 year old would not include terms like corrasion, hydraulic action, de-industrialisation, rural diversification, multiplier effect, infant mortality, NICs, aquifer over-abstraction, etc, etc.
(5) similarly include "SPECIFICS" (names, dates, numbers, etc.) - especially (but not only) when named examples are asked for - case study answers must be specific to that example, not just general points (e.g. "since 1991 when Mappleton's rock groynes were built, people living down-drift at Cowden - like Sue Earle and Shawn Mars - have seen more rapid erosion of their farms: more like 10m/yr rather than 1-2m/yr before 1991") - you get the idea...
(6) link ideas together - use conjunctions like "so...", "whereas...", "leading to..."
(7) don't waffle - you will run out of time - e.g. a 4-mark answer needs 2 explained / developed points - not 3 or 4 (which is tempting when you know a lot about something)
(8) don't leave blanks - even if some bizarre left-field Q comes up, any GCSE student worth their salt can come up with SOMETHING relevant, even if it's from their general knowledge - and if it really is "left field" (like some minor obscure part of the Spec being asked about on a 6- or 8-marker, as has happened many times in my experience), then most students will leave it blank - so any relevant point will put you 'ahead of the pack'
(9) watch your SPaG - e.g. capitals for place names
(10) complete and have marked as many past questions as possible - so that you begin to see which of these are particular areas of focus for you as a student

PS I teach my students acronyms to try and help them - RTQ for (2), PDA [pattern, detail/data, anomaly] for (3), STD for (4), (5), (6) [they like that one... a Year 8 student came up with it for me - "sir, so you want us to get STD in the exam..."]

Jog Jog

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 124
    • View Profile
Re: Rasing the A* % in results
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2013, 09:37:19 AM »
Speaking as someone who marked the AQA A Human Paper this year - make sure they can describe information/locations on a map extract correctly - i.e. confidently naming places, using distance & direction and can accurately use 6-fig GRs.  On a question in the Tourism section, hardly any of the the Higher Tier students scored full marks on the Q about tourism facilities in Norfolk.

Also, make sure you read the Examiners' Report for the latest exam papers - they are very useful.

I would underline the point made about you AND THE STUDENT being familiar with the terms in the spec.  Some students in the human paper this year did not know what was meant by a 'non-birth control policy' nor what was meant by 'external factors' that could affect tourist arrivals to the UK - even though both are referred to in the spec.

htdavies

  • Established Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 294
    • View Profile
Re: Rasing the A* % in results
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2013, 08:23:58 AM »
Some very helpful comments - thank you for these.

We have also been highlighting the skills questions on the papers - we do WJEC A .  For Paper 2 where there is a choice ( for the school) we have been getting pupils to complete the skills questions ( for example describe the location of ...) for the topics we do not study. This helps us focus on the command terms as well as giving them lots of practice on these type of questions  and I am hoping it will give pupils more confidence in dealing with any unfamiliar/ awkward questions that may come up in the exam.

Maddie87

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 18
    • View Profile
Re: Rasing the A* % in results
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2013, 09:51:32 AM »
Thank you for all your ideas, very helpful

Anne

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 153
    • View Profile
Re: Rasing the A* % in results
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2013, 10:27:55 AM »
Kevin I am intrigued what on earth is STD?!!!

swhitch

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1013
    • View Profile
Re: Rasing the A* % in results
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2013, 10:30:29 AM »
Totally agree with what is said here - particularly the need to:

Read the question closely - understand exactly what is being asked, although a "non-birth control policy" !!! ..... why not use pro-natalist ???

Select a board that asks fair and accessible questions. Some boards do seem to go out of their way to trick students or ask for 7 marks on pot-holing for example. More of guess what, bet you can't answer this one rather than show your understanding of .......

Select a board that has consistently good examiners who are, experienced, reliable and fair. I effectively resigned from one exam board by putting in my examiners report that I objected to marking things correct that were wrong and even more so to marking things wrong that were correct. Able students were being marked down (or rather not being given credit) as the principal examiner was less up to date than the students answering the questions and would not accept perfectly correct answers.

Make sure that you only describe when you are asked to describe and explain when you are asked to explain.

Make sure that a compare question is not simply two descriptions, they must clearly show comparisons between the data sets.

My main tip to our students is always use evidence - quote specific data, figures, numbers etc. use geographical terms when describing maps, compass directions not top, bottom, left or right.

When asked to interpret a photo say what you see.

Know the detail from case studies but know it in a way that can be applied do not rote learn things. How many times as an examiner have we read "everything I know about" when the question asked for evaluate, justify etc.

Where possible use sketch diagrams and maps to support your answers.

We moved from OCR B to IGCSE Cambridge and saw our A*/A percentage go up considerably with the modal group being A* - quite heavy content but accessible questions that appear to be fair (and proper coursework !)
« Last Edit: January 05, 2014, 01:47:20 PM by swhitch »
FRGS, FGS, C.Geog.
Head of Geography

kevincooper777

  • Established Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 364
    • View Profile
Re: Rasing the A* % in results
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2013, 12:02:31 PM »
Kevin I am intrigued what on earth is STD?!!!
Specifics, terms, detail/development :-)

PS having just marked my students' mock, definitely agree with Stuart's comments re actually answering the question on longer/case study answers - I've obviously emphasised terms and specifics so much they forgot to actually answer the question being asked...

Stephen A.Schwab

  • Established Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 287
    • View Profile
Re: Rasing the A* % in results
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2013, 04:02:00 PM »
'Able students being marked down...', v good point.
I feel the able students are strong on researching case studies & retaining up to date geographies from tv, radio & other media feeds, it can give them an A edge, but only if examiners are up to speed.
Consultant to the GA.
GA SPC Co-Chair.
National Schools Partnership Consultant.
Teaching and Learning Consultant.

Anne

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 153
    • View Profile
Re: Rasing the A* % in results
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2013, 08:29:53 PM »
 ;) Love it and will use it!! Thank you

swhitch

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1013
    • View Profile
Re: Rasing the A* % in results
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2013, 10:05:21 AM »
"I feel the able students are strong on researching case studies & retaining up to date geographies from tv, radio & other media feeds, it can give them an A edge, but only if examiners are up to speed."

For me one of the biggest sins is failing to award very able students for very sophisticated responses that accurately and appropriately go way beyond GCSE. Sometimes they not have stated the basic L1 point but have answered to AS/A level standard yet don't get out of level 1. Such answers often display an amazing level of knowledge and application of detail that in an AS/A level would have been an A grade and which more than hits the 3 required statements at level 3 for the top level at GCSE.

Nothing worse than telling able students that they need to water down their answers as they are too sophisticated to score well at GCSE.
FRGS, FGS, C.Geog.
Head of Geography

Stephen A.Schwab

  • Established Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 287
    • View Profile
Re: Rasing the A* % in results
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2013, 12:35:57 PM »
I agree.
Consultant to the GA.
GA SPC Co-Chair.
National Schools Partnership Consultant.
Teaching and Learning Consultant.

kevincooper777

  • Established Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 364
    • View Profile
Re: Rasing the A* % in results
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2013, 11:37:55 PM »
"I feel the able students are strong on researching case studies & retaining up to date geographies from tv, radio & other media feeds, it can give them an A edge, but only if examiners are up to speed."

For me one of the biggest sins is failing to award very able students for very sophisticated responses that accurately and appropriately go way beyond GCSE. Sometimes they not have stated the basic L1 point but have answered to AS/A level standard yet don't get out of level 1. Such answers often display an amazing level of knowledge and application of detail that in an AS/A level would have been an A grade and which more than hits the 3 required statements at level 3 for the top level at GCSE.

Nothing worse than telling able students that they need to water down their answers as they are too sophisticated to score well at GCSE.

Can't believe this happens!! - on the GCSE papers I have been involved with (Edexcel B) there is always the caveat that clearly excellent answers get top marks even if they don't jump through the particular hoops laid down as guidance for Level 3 (same with Controlled Assessment - though teachers sometimes don't seem to realise this and I have to moderate up as a result...)