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cant answer exam questions either!!

Discussion in 'Science' started by isitjustme, May 14, 2011.

  1. isitjustme

    isitjustme New commenter

    My GCSE and A level( human) biologist AQA are revising like mad for their exams and of course I am supplying them with lots of past papers and mark schemes. Im not new to this, but the biggest bug bear they have is that they dont know what the examiner is asking for. They understand that the command words are suppose to guide them, but they are still unable to get the gist. In fact, so am I. When I look at the exam questions myself and answer them, Im way off! It is only going to get worse because the new gcse specification is all about those higher order thinking skills of blooms taxonomy! These are skill sets that were not so important when I studied science. It was more recall and application. am I the only one that is feeling a little bit of a failure. I have been teaching for 15 yrs! Tired..yes Sick and Tired! Ha Ha.
  2. mousey80

    mousey80 Occasional commenter

    I am with you there. I was nervous because one of my students got 120/120 in his exam, and I was struggling with the same questions as him when they were revising... Then I got the raw marks through and he only got 68/80 to get the ums perfect score. So I think that a lot of students and other examiners must struggle to understand what the questions want. (physics).
  3. apply to be an examiner and you may get a better idea of what they are looking for and why?
  4. housesparrow

    housesparrow New commenter

    I think it sometimes depends on whoever the chief examiner was for that paper that year and their way of thinking. Depending on which year the question was set sometimes the answers required by the mark scheme for the same question are different and what was acceptable one year is rejected another.
  5. One of the reasons people like iGCSE is that it demands lots of recall (so not too much time for thinking-type questions). Personally, I don't believe that is the way to move humanity forwards, but it impresses politicians and papers like The Sun.
  6. I agree with you, however many students are going to university and their subject knowledge is not good enough. There has to be a balance between content and skills, and the exam boards have not achieved this as of yet. A focus on a skills led curriculum does deter teachers away from delivering a subject led course, which is not good for those students that are considering university. This just one of the reasons more and more foundation degrees have been developed.
  7. Perhaps we have to consider why we are here (NOT a deep theological discussion). Is it to create walking encyclopedias for universities to polish or should we be more concerned with creating thinking individuals who can flourish in a variety of roles?
    Personally, I prefer the latter, although I accept that there are institutions which find it hard to adapt to changes in their clientelle.
    (I remember my Dad saying he was disappointed when he interviewed one of my CSE-type students for an engineering apprenticeship because "he didn't know how many 1 inch holes you could get in a 3 foot bar if they were at 6 inch centres". I explained that metres had replaced inches in schools before the boy was born!)

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