With only three weeks remaining until the externally assessed Computing / Computer Science written paper you will no doubt be asking – are you students ready?
On the morning of Wednesday 7th June all of the hard work will be put to the test, which throws up in the air a number of critical questions…
- How can I test if my pupils are ready?
- How can I identify what areas my pupils need to improve upon?
- How can students make the best use of their homework / revision time?
- How can I make the best use of the half term week?
The can be no definitive answer to all of these questions as your pupils are just that – yours. However we do have a range of suggestions to throw your way.
Use Past Papers to Predict Results and Intervene Where Necessary
The tried and tested method of using previous exam papers is one of the most effective and reliable tactics you can use, and also one that student engage well with.
As a teacher you will have the opportunity to gain a summative mark that can be equated to an actual GCSE grade, and as a pupil this can be a reassuring tool to ensure you are on the right track or a stark warning that extra resources need to be assigned to this subject quick!
Edexcel, OCR and AQA all have sections on their website that allow you and your students to download past papers and mark schemes. It’s also very much worth your time reading any examiners comments if they are available.
Use the Past Paper to Discover Areas of Improvement
As well as having a raw mark for an exam paper, further analysis can be done by assigning marks to different types of questions, which then identifies tangible areas for improvement which students can then spend more time brushing up on.
If you are short on time then you could break the questions down into a few different sections. This is up to you but my suggestions would be something along the lines of programming / pseudocode, computing theory and computing calculations.
If you have an abundance of time (yeah right!) then you could go further and map out each question a specific topic found in the qualification specification.
Once the question mapping has been done then you, or more conveniently your students, can then assign individual grades to each topic which can then be the focal point of revision.
Homework / Revision Materials Are Crucial
Presuming your student are now are aware of what areas need to be improved upon, the improving can begin!
It’s difficult to recommend anything better than by spending time revising from professional publications, often written from the qualification board themselves, and so here they are…
Half Term Week Could be the Difference Between Success and Failure
If you are planning on hosting half term sessions then ensure they are structured and each student has a clearly define goal which can be put to the test at the end of the session.
Your pupils may find it useful to have different question banks on pre-defined topics, for example all of the pseudocode questions from the past three years exams.
It may also be worth drilling into student that although you cannot by any means guarantee it, many exams are made up of questions (or slight variations and rewording of questions) from past papers. So if they can achieve the grade they want on each past paper from the past three years then they have given themselves a very good chance of getting that result on the fateful Wednesday.
Finally, as the teacher, drill down into your qualification boards exam papers and try to find common questions that appear in almost every past paper and assign some focus to it. Obviously there can be no promises between you and your pupils with this but it ensuring my students were excellent with their binary, denary and hexadecimal conversions has served me well of the years!