Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Supporting Students Revising for Tests & Exams

(Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes)

Most teachers who have been in the game for a while lament that students' ability to retain information long enough to be tested is decreasing. By leveraging technology you can help support students in their revision.

I have found that over the years students seem less organised, perhaps a byproduct of the digital age. Students with patchy attendance miss learning materials, and in the covid age it is ever more important to ensure students have every opportunity to access learning materials. So what can we do to help students?

I use Google Drive to store all my resources, so every resource has a hyperlink. By sharing a single Google Doc that collates the hyperlinks of revision materials, all learning materials are organised and collated. The example below is a revision document I generated for my year 11 Psychology class. 

By collating the hyperlinked revision materials into a table sorted by topic and type of resource, makes the resources more accessible to students.

This strategy scaffolds students that struggle with organisation, such as students with ADHD, so by using this strategy you are being more inclusive. For those that may feel as if I am doing student work for them, that students should be organising their own materials, I counter that this model provides the blueprint for organising learning materials beyond my class and into university. This document in itself is a lesson I want my students to learn - hyperlink everything!

I usually couple that with an email home to get parents and caregivers onside to remind the students to prepare for the test. I had child of my own that would predictably say “I don’t have any homework” and I know I would be very grateful when teachers did message home to keep me in the loop. An email home is made even better by giving parents access to the revision materials, it encourages them to be a participant in their child’s revision.

For example:

Emails to caregivers should always be BBCed, short, with vital information such as dates and hyperlinks to resources to assist them in supporting their child. Always thank parents for their support in advance!

And one more tip, when you have crafted a good email, put it in a document (for me always a Google doc) with the filename of "Parent Email". I then accrue a bank of emails for different occasions that I rejig and reuse, saving time in crafting important correspondence. Even better - share the document with other teachers in your teaching team and encourage them to add their emails. That way everyone can jump on board your initiative.

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