Reteach and review in KS3 Science

Alongside delivering subject content, teachers also work to develop students into well rounded learners. This means that a curriculum has to address both the cognitive and the metacognitive skills.

When reviewing our KS3 curriculum last year, I wanted to create a structure where both of these areas could be addressed consistently for all students. To do this I devised a Reteach and Review (RR) protocol to compliment the main teaching content. This protocol also fits in with our whole school DAFITAL process which is a data centred approach to T&L, essentially looking at what the students know and don’t know and using this to inform our teaching as well as being a basis from which constant development of SOL and resources can take place. Read more about this process here.

The RR protocol consists of two lessons which follow the end of phase summative assessment. Staff complete their DAFITAL data analysis and then use this to inform their RR lessons.

Lesson 1 of RR:

The first thing the students do is complete an exam wrapper (example below). These are a great resource which guide students through reviewing both their performance in recall/application of content as well as reflecting on the strategies they used in the exam and the revision strategies they used to prepare. Ultimately it allows students to work on their knowledge of themselves as a learner. I have written a blog about exam wrappers here. After the exam wrapper, staff will then reteach any subject content that the data analysis highlighted as being general class weaknesses. This process will be quite detailed for some classes where as on other occasions they will simply be a quick review and then students will work on their own areas of improvement.

Lesson 2 of RR:

This lesson focuses on the skills the students need to work on and gives students the head space to review their exam performance without thinking about the subject content. Primarily this will need to be exam skills and require a ‘walking talking mock’ type approach where staff model their thinking when answering the questions. Whilst this is taking place students will be following along and completing improvements to their exams. After this, students are able to go back to their exam wrapper and add anything to the ‘skills’ part. For example, initially when completing the exam wrapper students may just put things like ‘show full working’ or ‘all answers need units’ under the exam practice part. However, following the modelling students would then add extra detail. For example, how to use data from the question in their answers – or any of the other typical things that students would not necessarily pick up themselves. After this there is then some form of reassessment. This could be getting the students to complete one of the exam questions again, or it could be a different question which assesses the knowledge that needed to be retaught the lesson before. This part is very much down to staff discretion and is their choice as to what they complete.

Following RR lessons:

As a department we all start lessons with an interleaved low stakes quiz. Therefore, following the RR process, the staff then use the areas of reteach/weakness to inform parts of their low stakes quizzes in the next phase. This means that students have the opportunity to revisit the tricky topics multiple times which helps them with the overall recall of the ideas.

The aim of this process is to develop the students knowledge of themselves as a learner. This means that it will take time, and it deserves the space in the curriculum and the explicit teaching time to be focused on properly. Here is a section of our KS3 calendar showing how we allocate the time for this process. To add context, Y7 have 4 science lessons a fortnight and we have a spiral curriculum where students cover a biology, chemistry and physics topic throughout the year.

Y7 calendar example

As with many things we do in the classroom this whole process will need to be very structured at first. But over time the students will be more familiar with the expectations and the process so it can become more independent. I also believe that it is important that there is a consistent approach to this. The overall structure to this approach is common for all staff and all year groups. However staff are able to scaffold and adapt to meet the requirements of their individual classes so that it is accessible for all.

If you are interested in seeing more examples of exam wrappers or looking at how I have approached mapping our KS3 curriculum you are able to download these from the ‘Resources’ tab.

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