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From Mrs Lynsey Porter, Director of Curriculum

Director of Curriculum, Ms Lynsey Porter

Term 2 Assessment Tasks and Half-Yearly Examinations

With Years 7-10 Half-Yearly Examinations commencing next week and a number of assessment tasks scheduled through to the end of the term across all year groups, students should be developing and maintaining effective home learning habits, as per the Home Learning section of the College Diary. This is particularly important in terms of study beyond the work set by the teacher.

Study Skills Initiative

The Year 11 Elevate Study Skills session next Wednesday, 25 May is one of many sessions throughout the year that are mapped across the Years 7-12 curriculum to support students in developing good independent learning habits. Students are first introduced to these sessions at the start of Year 7 with Dr Prue Salter’s Study Skills session, where she covers a range of information/ strategies for making effective study notes, creating a productive study environment, planning time for home learning, and the benefits of becoming an independent learner.  

This year, a working group of teachers has developed an initiative to embed these skills into Stage 4 formative tasks, leading up to examination periods. The first stage of this initiative is currently taking place in Year 7 Geography and Science, where students are taught how to create effective mind-maps as they study for half-yearly examinations and prepare Term 2 assessment tasks.

Year 7 Study Skills

One impressive example of this initiative happened this week in Mr Nicholas Sposari’s Year 7 Geography class. His students created powerful mind-maps to prepare for their assessments.

“Drawn from their excursion to Centennial Park, they organised relevant information, used colour to express important concepts of key ideas, and represented connections between ideas. This flexible preparation is part of the Stage 4 Study Skills project that Mrs Lynsey Porter (Director of Curriculum) leads.” – Mr Nicholas Sposari (Teacher).

Yr 7 Study Skills Geography

For the next phase of the initiative, Languages will work with Year 8 students in Spanish in their formative task leading up to the yearly examinations. We look forward to reviewing the impact of these tasks on the way students approach their study, and we will continue to work to support students in their study habits.

Study Skills Website

You can learn more on the Study Skills website.

>>> Click here to view more information on the Study Skills website.

Our College’s subscription details to the Study Skills Handbook are:

Username: forwaverleycollegeonly

Password: 94results

The Study Skills website also offers tips on writing assessment tasks for submission. A summary of these tips is outlined below.

Student studying

Starting to Write an Assignment

When helping students with assignments, the focus is often just on the research process. These tips will focus on getting started with the writing.

  1. CHECK REQUIREMENTS
    So you have done all of your research, collected the information you will need, and are ready to start writing your assignment. Before you begin, revisit the requirements, format and criteria for the task. Be very clear on what the assignment is asking you to do and any guidelines you have been given for the assignment. If you are unsure at all, check with your teacher. It can be good to have the assignment questions written on an index card that you keep next to you while working, so you stay focused on answering the question and meeting the requirements.
  2. PLAN A STRUCTURE
    Your approach will vary depending on the style of your assignment (e.g. essay, speech, presentation or report) but regardless of this, unless it is explicitly given to you, you need to decide the structure of your assignment. Have you determined the main points, the headings and subheadings? Have you made sure you have gathered information about all parts of the question? Have you found any diagrams, images, photos, quotes needed to reinforce any points? Before you begin the writing, create a structure for your work, listing all of the headings and subheadings you will write about. Keep checking back with the criteria or requirements to ensure you are answering the assignment questions.
  3. JUST START WRITING
    The best thing to do if you have no idea how to begin your writing, is to just start writing. Now this may sound a little strange, but many students do not start writing, because they want what they write to be perfect or ‘right’ the first time. Don’t worry whether your writing is up to standard at this stage. Instead, concentrate on getting your ideas down on paper or screen. Choose a section and start putting down ideas about the sorts of things you could include in that section. The hardest part of any writing is starting. Once you start putting down ideas, this generates other ideas, and before you know it you have some text to work with. So even if you have no idea where to start, just write or type ‘I don’t know what to include here’ and even writing this will get your subconscious thinking about what could be included.
  4. USE YOUR NOTES
    Once you have started, you can use your notes from the research you did, to build your ideas and arguments for your assignment. This means that you integrate your own thoughts and ideas with the research you have done, using this to help support your ideas. Make sure that you reference correctly. This means that when you use materials you have researched, particularly quotes, you make it clear where this material has been sourced from. You may find holes in your research as you progress, and have to then do additional research about those areas.
  5. BE CREATIVE
    Unlike an essay, you generally have a bit more scope in how you present an assignment. Think about how you can bring the material to life for the reader. Photos (appropriately referenced) are a good start and sometimes diagrams, tables, examples, statistics or flowcharts may be appropriate. You might use lists, bullet points or colour to make the material more user-friendly. Your teacher will be reviewing many assignments on the same topic, so do as much as you can to make yours stand out or present a unique angle.
  6. REVIEW AND REVIEW AGAIN
    Have you ever had that experience where you write something, leave it, come back the next day and read it again, and find a whole heap of errors you didn’t see the first time? This is why it is important to space out your work on your assignment over a number of weeks and days. You need time to edit your work and you need space between edits. When you come back with a fresh eye, you will be able to look at your work from a different perspective, with ideas about how to improve it. As you review your work, look for spelling and grammar errors, possible repetition or unclear areas. Surprisingly, reading your work out loud is a great way to locate errors or things that don’t make sense.

 

Mrs Lynsey Porter

Director of Curriculum

E: lporter@waverley.nsw.edu.au