Secondary Secondary Psychology

Secondary Psychology – Do they ‘get’ the topic? (aka. medium term planning for progress)

It is important to plan for progress at a medium term level as the new OFSTED framework places a specific emphasis on evidencing pupil progress. This means not only over the course of a key stage, but also within lessons and over time.
Each subject necessarily has its own way of doing this, but within Psychology I was particularly keen to develop something which was useful to students and teachers alike. I was also keen not to have to spend too long developing the system and because of time constraints I also wanted to ensure it was an easy method to use in class.
What do we do?
I, along with my departmental colleagues, developed a system which teachers use when they have delivered a whole topic. In our centre, that’s about every half term.
Step 1: Highlight what the student knows (or not)
Students are given the topic progress sheet to look through in class (an example for the Approaches section of AQA Spec B is available to download here). We use one of these for each topic and the content is exactly the content of the specification. This ensures students are familiar with the potential wording of the exam questions.
Students are then given 3 different coloured highlighters. We encourage them to look carefully through the content and highlight (with one of the highlighters) parts of the content they feel they know well, and can evaluate in detail. This would be equivalent to an A grade skill level.
They then do the same with the second colour highlighter and identify which areas they know reasonably well. That should equate to a B/C standard.
The final colour should be used for areas they only have a basic understanding of, so this would gain them a D or E grade in the exam.
Step 2: Identify areas to focus on
Students are then asked to see what the predominant colour is, that should give them the sense of what they will get in that topic (although of course it depends on the questions set). They can at least target their revision wisely by tackling their problem areas first.
Step 3: Identify areas teachers need to focus on
We collect the sheets in from the students and look at them to see if we, as teachers, need to target any areas specifically. Patterns of areas where classes are less confident can occur and that helps us target any revision we might do with them. We then hand the sheet back to the students for them to put it in their files.
The system works and helps show areas where progress is less good. We’ve also found it to be teacher and student friendly. It’s also OFSTED friendly and the sheets can be compiled really quite quickly… always a bonus!
Eleanor Hills
Subject Leader Psychology and Sociology
Roundhay School

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