Saturday, 9 May 2015

Inquiry into Inquiries...

As part of a MindLab postgrad course I am doing this year, one of the assessment series I have chosen to do is linked into how I approach the inquiry experiences that I set for students in my modules. Because we see more value in assessing students by how they inquire into their learning contexts, rather than giving them 'end of topic' tests or exams, we have not yet have our Y9 and Y10 students experience those periods of intense exam-week stress. I see this as being a valuable thing, and know that we will help our students prepare for when/if they choose to sit NCEA externals down the line - but not as a process of sitting an exam for exam's sake. Test/exam strategies are an important skill to learn, just like how to write a good essay, or how to solve algebra problems, or how to apply learning in a cross-curricular manner, but I really believe at a junior level, sitting lots of tests and exams does more harm than good.

I digress slightly! However, something that's been on my mind is that sometimes our students end up with multiple inquiries all being due at the same time (often the end of terms, when many modules have done some front-loading teaching and learning). This isn't always a problem, but for some students can cause them some stress. My MindLab assessments (and to be smart, my teaching as inquiry at the moment too!) is looking into what strategies and approaches I can change within my teaching practices in order to address this potential problem.

Below is the first part of my inquiry into inquiries ;) - just identifying the issue. Watch this space for the next parts, which are looking into what strategies I can use, and then finally how application of these strategies works.

Many thanks to the students who gave their honest feedback - and agreed for me to publish the video.