Best Practice

Exam preparation: Extended writing questions

As part of her work on improving feedback to students, Helen Webb focused on improving performance in GCSE science extended writing questions. She discusses her findings

At its last inspection, Ofsted rated our school “good”. One of the reasons that inspectors gave for the school not yet being “outstanding” was because the quality of marking and feedback was not consistently high across the school.

As a result, one of the aims of our School Improvement Plan was to increase the proportion of outstanding teaching by making sure that the quality of marking and feedback was consistently high across the school.

In response to this I chose to dedicate an action research project to support this aim, focusing my attention initially to my own science department.

This project specifically aimed to improve the provision of feedback for extended writing questions used in examinations for the key stage 4 OCR 21st Century GCSE Science Suite. These are tasks that students found challenging to complete and teachers often found difficult to mark.

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