As our final versions of the Knowledge Organisers are being printed over the summer holidays, I have been preparing some of the resources for how we test our pupils on the knowledge contained therein. As I wrote before, the real value in actually creating these resources is in the discussion that it prompts amongst the teachers in the department. So it’s not ideal that I am doing this on my own in the holidays. I hope to carve out some INSET time at the beginning of term to run through this with the department, especially important for our new trainees.
Towards the end of summer term we did manage to have a quick discussion and agree on a couple of principles for testing. As a school, across all subjects, we have decided to make the Knowledge Organiser tests high-stakes. They are high-stakes in that pupils will get a detention if they fail to achieve 80%. Also, most departments are doing Multiple Choice tests, mainly to keep the marking burden light. An implication of making the tests high-stakes is that they have to be marked by teachers. We need to ensure that pupils can achieve high success on their tests by learning purely what is in the Knowledge Organiser. We are not testing application of knowledge, just the knowledge itself. In Maths, this means we are not doing a standard maths test where the pupil would be working out answers, but we are testing that they have learned the definitions and examples as given. We will do this using multiple choice questions where there may be more than one correct answer, maybe we will call these Multi-Multi Choice Questions (MMCQs). Below are some examples showing the extract from the Knowledge Organiser and the associated MMCQ.
This all feels very different from anything I have ever done or seen done in Maths before so it makes me pretty nervous about how it will work. But I am also excited because if our pupils can start lessons with a firm knowledge of these basic facts and definitions, maybe they will make more progress in doing the maths that uses them.
Please do let me know if you have any thoughts or comments based on your experience. I am not publishing the whole set of MMCQs yet as we will be working on them next term, but do get in touch either via comments below or on Twitter if you’d like me to e-mail what I have got so far to you.