How to get students to engage in mark schemes

Maybe it is just me… but I find mark schemes for level marked questions very vague and subjective. I might give it a level 1 but another teacher could justify a level 2. Like many teachers, I try and get my students to understand the mark schemes (even though us teachers struggle), but it was this idea, shared by Laura McQuade regarding her research using self regulation strategy development (SRSD) which has revolutionised how I get students to engage in mark schemes.

Simply put, students allocate scores to good components that you would expect to find in an answer. Here is how I have used it;

What to do:

1)Give students an exam question- allow them to answer it in pairs in a limited time on large paper.

In my first trial I used “Use a case study to describe the responses to river flooding” (an 8 mark AQA Geography GCSE question)

2) During a teacher led Q and A students feedback the criteria for a good answer

  1. Connectives – additional, also, another, etc
  2. facts and figures
  3. Naming the case study in the opening sentence
  4. 2 paragraphs- 1 on immediate responses 1 on long term
  5. using key words from the question – flooding/ responses

3) Students then gave each criteria a score. E.g. 10 marks for using describing connectives. 20 marks for facts and figures. I led them towards giving the most important aspects the highest score (e.g. if they don’t name a place they can’t get level 2 or 3- so gave this 100).

success criteria4) They then scored their answer. Every time they used a describing connective they got 10 marks. When ever they used a specific fact or figure they got 20 marks. Each time they wrote the place name AND they gave it a capital letter they got 5 marks.

marked answer5) Students reflected on where they gained and lost marks.

6) Students individually rewrote their answer- they tried to beat their original score

7) Final feedback task reflecting on what they had learnt.

student reflections 2

This idea really helped students to see the important components of their answer. It put the mark scheme in simple terms and added an aspect of competition (which really engaged by middle ability boys).


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