Now that I think of it, I can’t quite remember who wrote the phrase, ‘you might have taught it, but that isn’t a guarantee they’ve learnt it’ and I can’t think of a saying that is more important. As a teacher, I constantly feel the need to ‘do’ the curriculum – tick off the boxes of a topic, get the lessons done. The reality is that I am constantly apologizing for being behind. But I’m behind because I’m not prepared to move quickly, I’m not interested in superficial understandings and I want at least 80% of my class to have ‘mastered’ the knowledge or the skill that is being taught. This is a process that takes a long time but it is time worth investing especially in Key Stage 3 where we should be setting the foundations for future learning.
My year 7 class have just reached the point where I was able to bring in a ‘Show Me What You Know’ quiz. (Name taken from Louisa Enstone). These two quite short quizzes focused on topic knowledge ‘how to write a myth’ or more narrowly – narrative structures and the other was more a grammar knowledge check.
You can see both attached below.
- Show me what you know quiz (Narrative structures)
- Y7 Show me what you know knowledge quiz (Grammar and some)
I then marked both of theses quizzes (which took no time at all) and returned them to the pupils. However, we all know that simply returning quizzes is not sufficient. So there are a number of things I have been working on to embed into my practice for the benefit of my pupils.
- Pupils are given a marksheet – in that they are given all of the questions with the answers alongside them.
- Pupils then have to green pen the answers they got incorrect, drawing attention to the terms, or the knowledge they have yet to secure.
- Pupils then were provided with the knowledge organizer which is organised in a question and answer format. Now you may ask why weren’t pupils provided with the knowledge organizer at the start. And I’ve been thinking about this. There has been much discussion about the usefulness of the knowledge organizer. I still happen to think they are a really useful tool. But, for me, if I were to issue the knowledge organizer at the start of the unit, it would actually mean very little to them. Half-way through pupils will recognize the questions, even if they have not yet secured all of the answers. So I issue it half-way through the unit. Pupils then colour code their knowledge organizer. In one colour, they highlight the answers they got right and in another they highlight the answers they got wrong. (See example below). Again this is fronting the content that they need to focus in on learning.
- Pupils then were set up on Quizlet and shown how to create flashcards. Pupils created flashcards using the question and answer format from the knowledge organizer for the knowledge that they hadn’t quite secured. The intention being that as part of their homework programme, pupils will start to self quiz to grow more secure in the knowledge content they have not yet ‘mastered’.
As a teacher, I will then do two things with the Show Me What You Know quizzes.
1. I will identify patterns of questions that pupils got wrong and use these questions as part of my retrieval questions at the start of my lesson.
2. I will set a new knowledge test for after our main assessment where this knowledge will be tested once again to see if the pupils have improved and benefitted from their own self-quizzing.
Simple. Quick. And a process that means the pupils are doing more than you with the feedback provided in the hope of moving their learning forward.