31 Oct 2018

Year 7 Parents - helping your child do their best in assessments

All pupils at Mayfield will have assessments from time to time to allow their teacher to find out how much pupils have learned. To help all pupils prepare as effectively as they can for these assessments we will be helping them throughout the year to develop highly effective learning strategies. These are based on the work of the Learning Scientists, a group of cognitive psychological scientists who specialise in research on education (see http://www.learningscientists.org/ for more details).

Just before half term all year 7 pupils had their first revision seminar where they were introduced to the first strategy of 'Spaced Practice' - in other words spreading out your practice and revision out over a longer period of time is better than doing it all in one go (ie 10 minutes practicing/revising once a week for six weeks is better than 60 minutes practicing/revising in one go). Not only does this make it easier to recall the material being revised/practiced but it also reduces the need for stressful, last minute, late night 'cramming' sessions (this also works for prep!)

As parents there are some simple things you can do to help your child with spaced practice:

Look at your child's study plan - All pupils write a study plan in their school planner every half term. This study plan sets out chores they have to do, time to have fun and time to spend on prep/revision for each subject. Talk to your child about the plan they have made - do you think they are spending enough time on each subject area?
Help your child stick to their study plan - if you can, take a photo/copy of the study plan and stick it up at home. Monitor that your child is keeping to their plan. Remind them regularly that sticking to the plan means they won't have to do a stressful, last minute cramming session!
Encourage your child to revise/practice in each session as well as complete prep - pupils should be using the sessions in their study plan to complete prep tasks. But they should also be spending some of this time (maybe 10 minutes per session) reviewing and recalling information they have covered previously. They will be shown how to do this effectively later this year but in the meantime just asking them questions about what they have learned and what they can remember from previous prep will be highly effective!

Please do spend some time going over these things with your child - developing these learning strategies will help set your child up for a lifetime of preparing well for assessments both in school and out. If you do have any questions about the strategies then please do email Mr Ryan Gibson (Assistant Headteacher) at gibsonr@mayfield.portsmouth.sch.uk.