1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

KS3 Exams - What do you do?

Discussion in 'Religious Education' started by believe81, Feb 1, 2011.

  1. believe81

    believe81 New commenter

    Hi all,
    Key stage 3 exams are going to be starting in the next few weeks, so I will start writing them soon. I was just wondering how everyone did their exams. Do you have one question to be answered, where all levels can be achieved or do you have number of questions where you work through the levels.
    I just thought it would be interesting to know what everyone is doing.
    Thanks for you help,
  2. We don't do any exams in RE for KS3. We do 3 assessments in each year.
  3. We do assessments too.
  4. believe81

    believe81 New commenter

    We have half termly assessments but one of those assessments is an exam to try and get students into the habit of exam protocol.
    Thanks for the responses!
  5. durgamata

    durgamata Occasional commenter

    When I worked at the school mentioned in another thread, (where I was part time and left due to taking time off for a family commitment) I worked at first with a brilliant HOD who had been there for years. She did all of the KS3 assessment with project work and they created folders of superb work, much of it at GCSE standard or even better. She gave a very detailed 'remit' and guided them in lessons as well as giving them scope to add to it as homework. It was a private grammar school so all the kids were as sharp as needles and loved RE - so the level of commitment was huge.

    While I was at the school she retired and the head imposed the strategy for assessment on the new HOD with annual exams - 'to make RE come in line with all the other subjects.' I had to start the term with year 7, teaching about the existence or non existence of God.

    This was introduced in a prescriptive way with William Paley's theory related to a watch. It is complex and beautifully designed. If someone found a watch they would be able to tell it had a creator - etc. Next we looked at Darwin and evolution. Then we moved on to the next topic.

    Being a rebel and caring about the importance of spirituality rather than theory, after teaching this theory, I took my students into the grounds with sketchbook paper and they had to look for something natural which showed some sign of design - draw it and describe what made it special. Those lessons in the Indian Summer of September, were memorable. I think that many of the students - who were very pressured academically, had never really crawled around on the grass, following a beetle - or looked at the patterns and colours of bark in different trees etc before.

    I digress... those were the days ... indeed I wonder if the head was just looking for an excuse to get shot of me. (I still feel so sad when I remember that school. I had built up such a great relationship with my students. I didn't tell them about why I left so suddenly as I felt it would be disloyal - but I bet they were never told. I saw some in town a few months later - year 10 non GCSE students. We had been exploring the subject of death and were getting some wonderful discussions. They told me that they missed me and that the new teacher 'never listens to what we think. She just makes us write stuff.'

    What I want to say is that RE is about educating our students about the whole world of religion - their own experiences and understanding are crucial here - especially for KS3, before they are caught up in the pressures of exams and set curriculum. Please, please try to choose assessment methods which give your students scope to grow in understanding - spiritual awareness - empathy etc. Don't be forced into a straight-jacket that suits the school or makes RE behave just like all the other subjects. It is not 'just like all the subjects' (thank God) otherwise it would not be RE and I would not be an RE teacher.
  6. durgamata

    durgamata Occasional commenter

    Just going out the door when I remembered something that you might like to try. If you are in a school which insists that you give formal exams to your KS3 students each term - or even at the end of the year, there are always some students who are weak and finish early. Then they just sit feeling miserable and getting even more disaffected. Then there are others who are bright and eager, well revised and ready to go. At the start of the exam they fly into the first question and eat up the exam paper, finishing ages before the time permitted. Then they start to get bored.

    In my lessons I try to use some reflective exercises so my students are not surprised to have a 'part 2' section at the end of the official exam 'for bonus points only.'

    Some of the questions I might ask here are - When you have read the following question, you will need to shut your eyes for one minute and listen to all the sounds you can hear. Try to find some that come from inside your own body. Can you hear your heartbeat or your breathing?

    Try to find some sounds that come from the room where you are taking this exam. Is there anyone walking about. Can you hear the sound of any pens writing or papers moving?

    Now listen to the sounds outside the room. What are the loudest sounds? What are the softest sounds? Are any connected to nature - like birds singing or people talking? Are any of them connected to machines - such as cars or aeroplanes.

    after listening like this for at least a minute, write down all the sounds you could hear.

    Another question might be, When you have read the following question, you will need to shut your eyes for one minute and watch the thoughts going through your mind.

    Try to be the observer, just aware of the thoughts but not directing them in any way. Are your thoughts in the past, present or future - or in the world of pure imagination?

    Now close your eyes and watch your thoughts like this - for at least a minute. Then write down all the thoughts you can remember and where they took you in time, past present or future?

    Another nice 'feedback' question is 'What have you done this term which has required you to study something on your own?

    What have you done this term that required you to ask people outside school some questions?

    What have you done this term that required you to work as part of a group?

    What was your role in the group?

    what activities have you enjoyed most and which have you found most difficult?

    However well or badly students may have prepared for the exam - they can all access questions like these and they give you great material for discussion and improvement.

    In one school I was on Maternity Cover and came in close to the end of term. The year 8 class had been studying Buddhism and a new girl had just joined the class. She was quite a loud character and argued that she should not have to take the exam because she had not done the work. I said she could use a text-book and look things up. But her argument caused a lot of strong feeling in the class. The general view was that she should not have to do the exam at all. In the reflective questions at the end I asked for well reasoned views on this question, pointing out that she would have a text book and this gave her an opportunity to catch up a bit with the rest of the class and learn something about Buddhism.

    It was a real 'bonding' exercise and improved my relationship with the class a lot. Whereas in class I couldn't explain my views as I was shouted down, in this question I was able to explain my view and give opportunity for each person to comment. It really made a difference - and at the end of the day, I guess that's what teaching is all about.
  7. I do a couple of formal exams in years 7 and 8 and just one in year 9. These are interspersed with a levelled assessment each term and then a range of h/w that hits different learning styles.
    On the exams I vary the questons - simple easy to recall 1 mark facts for the least able to access. Then GCSE type questions - e.g. a statement they have to argue for and against and then give their own opinion e.g. If God is everywhere why are holy places needed?
    I also include photographs that they have to answer questions on, lots of what is your view? type questions and in year 7 - a design a leafelt/poster question - on a specific topic they have studied.
  8. ramaduds

    ramaduds New commenter

    After each term we get pupils to sit a GCSE style question - whether in year 7, 8 or 9. Of course the questions are adapted to suit the ability range, but it's more the skills than knowledge we're mostly assessing. The test is a 30 minute question. We sit the OCR Spec A/B with KS4 so assessments in key stage 3 are set out in the same format:
    e.g. Year 8 'Sikhism' test:
    (a) What does 'symbol' mean? (1)
    (b) Give two examlpes of Sikh symbols. (2)
    (c) Why might Sikhs wear certain symbols? (3)
    (d) Explain the purpose of a gurdwara. (6)
    (e) 'The Guru Granth Sahib is the most important Guru in Sikhism.' Discuss. (12)

    I do however have to agree with some of the other comments that have been said. Although we have these assessments in place, we recognise RE to be that bit different. Students often bring with them topics for discussion, relating to a film they've seen, some celebrity behaviour, a death in the family... It is my job as an RE teacher to provide an opportunity on the timetable to discuss openly these issues. 'My sisters having an abortion...', 'My brothers come out as gay...', 'My parenst are getting a divorce...' - the objective yet compassionate study of such responses to these questions in my oponion outweigh any need for a formal assessment in RE. Of course this doesn't mean that the SOW is scrapped, or even that every lesson doesn't meet it's objectives. It allows a period of time however to empathise with the issues of others.

Share This Page