I just thought I'd jot down a few notes for colleagues who maybe new to the profession or struggling to improve results, on how to effectively use some of the resources on the exam board websites.
When I first completed my PGCE 23 years ago, I was encouraged to read around widely about different strategies for raising standards in the classroom, but no one ever really explained to me the importance of actually reading the examiners reports. At that moment in time, the examiners reports came in a rather thick publication, would arrive and be dispatched to the back of filing cabinet in our office, where it quickly began to gather a lot of dust. It was only when I started marking for AQA, back in the 1990s that I began to release how important these resources were and started to read them in more detail. I soon learnt how to pick out the many tips, hints and sound advice on how the mark schemes were interpreted and how in turn to improve the performance of our students.
Nowadays of course, with the advent of PDF files it has become a lot easier to use and skim read examiners reports and mark schemes and to search them for the specific information that relates to the courses that you teach. At the same time, it has also become increasingly important to read these documents as we are all required by the new teaching standards to stay abreast of recent curriculum developments. As a caseworker for the NASUWT I have come across several instances of schools disciplining teachers who have made mistakes in marking or submitting coursework for various qualifications. Many of these mistakes could have been avoided by reading the latest specification or examiners reports as human resources were at pains to point out in the meetings that I attended. Therefore, I would urge everyone to stay abreast of recent developments and add reading these reports to their bedtime reading during the summer holidays.
As a head of humanities, I don't think it is unreasonable to ask a curriculum leader to produce a short summary of the relevant parts of the examiners report and to identify any key issues that can be fed back to the rest of the faculty / department at the next faculty meeting. I ask people who attend CPD courses to do the same.
Edited by Roy Huggins, 26 April 2014 - 08:30 PM.