My mission is to help students, teachers and parents tackle low literacy levels in education that, if left unaddressed, will impact on students future ability to effectively engage in society. As exams and assessments place more of an emphasis on extended writing, this website has been designed to remove some of those barriers to learning.
Write smarter, not harder
I want to help students be more strategic in the way that they structure their answers as different command terms require a different set of skills. The strategies you will come across here will help students cope with the demands of any exam that involves extended writing, especially the new GCSE`s 1-9. They will also help prepare students for the transition into the Sixth Form. These strategies are very transferable and can be used in all subjects ranging from History to Biology, and to PE. You just need to learn how to apply them effectively.
To answer these questions, I have used the help of some teachers, mark schemes provided by exam boards and revision websites. It is also worth noting that the level of depth required may vary from subject to subject. Use them for guidance only.
Remember, every mark matters!
(Please note that the site is not specifically designed for English as answering questions in this exam requires a different set of skills. However, there are elements from this site that can easily be applied and there is one section on describing)
The extended writing process:
From my experience, there are four stages in the extended writing process that students need to go through in order for them to achieve their potential. Schools tend to address some of these effectively but not all. These stages will be addressed in different ways throughout the website.
Stage 1: Understand how you are being assessed
(For teachers and students)
Students need to be aware of the fact that there are different command terms and skills that need to be addressed when it comes to extended writing. This is a crucial stage in the learning process, one that should start in Year 7 and be continuous. Students need to be told about the different command terms and then shown how to address each skill.
Stage 2: Practice the skills and get feedback
Once students are familiar with the different types of command terms, they need to be given the chance to develop these skills. They also need to be able to realise they are transferable and encouraged to apply what they are learning in different subjects. When marking, teachers need to give specific feedback on what the student has done well, but more importantly, what do they need to do in order to improve. For this to have a lasting impact, the feedback needs to be very clear and focused and not just generic. Otherwise, you are wasting your time as the student will struggle to apply themselves effectively and progress will be limited. Interventions start to come into effect from here.
Once you understand the way in which a question should be answered, you need to start practicing it in lessons and at home. Remember, the techniques you learn on this site can be used across all subjects. When your teacher gives you feedback, make sure that you act on it because it will help you improve your grade.
Stage 3: Interventions
Based on marking and feedback, teachers should be reflecting on what students need to do in order to improve and thinking about the types of interventions that should be put in place. Will writing frames support the needs of the students? Do they need support with SPAG? Should literacy mats be used so that they start using connectives more effectively? Can you show them model answers? How can self/peer assessment activities help? Put differentiated interventions in place that meet the needs of each and every student.
To help you improve your grade, what additional support from the teacher do you need ? Do you find writing frames or literacy mats useful? Do you need to make more of an effort to improve your SPAG? Use the resources your teachers give you to help you improve the quality of your writing. Look for model answers and work with some peers so that you can help each other improve.
Stage 4: More feedback, more practicing and time management
If feedback has been effective and appropriate interventions put in place, then students should be making progress. Their skills should be improving, which should result in higher grades. Keep this process going until the students are experts in tackling each skill in your subject. Now they know how to write effectively, they should start doing exam paper/questions in timed conditions. The better prepared and more experienced they are, the more confident they will be going into their exam.
With the additional support from your teacher, you should now have all the tools needed to help you to improve. You need to take ownership of your own work and apply yourself. Practice some more and get some additional feedback from your teacher. Keep repeating this process till you are achieving the grade that you should be achieving. Once you perfect your technique, you need to complete questions in timed conditions to make sure you are fully prepared to cope with the demands of your exams and to ensure you are in a position to get the best grade possible for you. Remember, every mark matters!
EVERY MARK MATTERS