Achieve progress and balance over the holidays
The festive season presents a challenge to students who need to revise for mocks over the Christmas break. In a normal year, having to study in between celebrations may dampen their spirits. This year, given the disruptions to learning caused by COVID, and with Centre Assessed Grades having been issued last August, Christmas revision may seem more daunting, as students imagine mocks factoring more heavily into final results.
In good news for education, the government has pledged that GCSE and A-Level examinations will ‘absolutely’ go ahead in 2021. This prospect can give students some assurance, as they embark upon holiday revision, that mocks are not the be-all and end-all, but the valuable practice exercise they are meant to be. Readjusting that perception is crucial, as it can help students make the most of their mocks, by demonstrating what teachers really need to see: progress.
The meaningful metric of progress
Mocks are developmental assessments; they are not final exams. Contrary to the common view that they predict final results, the purpose of mocks is to give students an exam experience. By December, students are not yet halfway through their exam year, so in fact teachers don’t expect them to be performing at the level they will come June. Rather what teachers hope to see is students demonstrating their strengthening knowledge and skill sets.
Students can demonstrate progress on their mocks with these efforts over the holidays:
Focusing specifically on the topics the mocks will cover
Reviewing mark schemes and assessment objectives for the tasks at hand
Developing checklists for methods to be applied, and expectations to be met
Revising and applying targets from recent assessments
Engaging with practice questions under timed conditions