Stroud High School in Gloucestershire was the third highest-performing school in the South West when we first adopted Smart Revise. We already had high standards of attainment and plentiful extra-curricular opportunities for students. For us, Smart Revise was not about raising attainment but more about providing students with the affirmation and confidence that they can and will do well in their final exams.
Our students actively seek evidence that they are on track and place demands on their teachers to set regular mock tests, putting a heavy burden on teachers who are already going above and beyond to facilitate a plethora of additional opportunities outside the curriculum. These include fostering partnerships with local businesses, seeking awards such as Cyber-First, participating in local science festivals, and school clubs.
We needed to find a way to increase assessment opportunities for students, providing continual confirmation of their understanding of the subject matter, while keeping additional work for us as teachers to a minimum.
There were two features of Smart Revise that provided the ideal solution for us – the differentiated, continuous quiz mode and peer marking of tasks.
The quiz provides instant feedback to our students, but it also spaces questions and adapts to their needs automatically. I don’t even need to set the quiz for the students because the system does it for me. Students can see how many times they have answered a question correctly, and they are keen to use the built-in reports to check their progress with each topic. Students feel that the little-and-often approach of quiz mode has really helped them retain what they’ve learned and build their confidence.
Curriculum Team Leader
The peer marking feature allows me to set larger assignments for students such as end-of-topic tests and mid-point reviews. While I can mark these myself, the self-assessment and peer-marking options save me a lot of time, while students still get the feedback that they desire through the guided marking features. With peer marking, students have become more confident in the techniques they need to adopt in exams by considering the answers of their peers against the easy-to-follow mark schemes.
The effect on learning has been remarkable. Eli, a student in Year 12 who has made over 10,600 question attempts in the first five months of his A Level Computer Science course, and his friend, Red, who has over 10,000 attempts, report that they find mock exams so easy because “we just know it.” The competition between them has been quite intense but has also resulted in extremely high standards of attainment. The impact on the rest of the class is also positive, with students attempting hundreds of questions independently.
Using the reporting features, my colleagues and I can easily identify questions students are getting wrong and use these as discussion points at the start of the lesson.
In summary, Smart Revise has had a really positive impact on both the students and teachers at our school. It releases the burden and expectation of excessive marking while providing students with useful revision practices. Knowing that the questions are written specifically for the course the students are following has also given me confidence to just let them go for it. Although there are several assessment and quiz applications on the market for teachers to choose from, none of them are like Smart Revise.
Karen Morris, Curriculum Team Leader for Computing, Stroud High School.
As featured in Teach Secondary magazine.