Planning and organisation is the secret to examination success. Those students who achieve their full potential have a clear understanding of each of their subjects. Also, those students who have their parents involved in planning and revision are more likely to achieve better GCSE grades.Sam Groves, Key Stage 4 Raising Achievement Leader
Exams are an important and necessary way of tracking students’ progress throughout the academic year. Newton Abbot College is committed to ensuring that students from Year 7 onwards are given the right tools, advice and guidance to maximise their chances of achieving their full academic potential.
New GCSE Grading
Preparing for Success
The College prepares students for the expectations of examination procedures from their very first year.
Exam support evenings are a popular feature in the College’s calendar; students and parents are invited to meet with teaching staff to receive advice and helpful ideas to help support a student’s learning outside of the classroom environment. These evenings take place in Year 7, at the beginning of a student’s GCSE courses in Year 9 and again in Year 11.
Students also experience ‘Walk and Talk’ sessions in preparation for their exams. Students are taken through a subject exam paper and ‘walked’ through it, step-by step. Exam questions are dissected and analysed and timings are discussed to ensure that students can visualise the process from start to finish. Taking place in either a classroom or larger examination space, ‘Walk and Talk’ sessions help students prepare for exams and they allow students to associate a feeling of success and achievement in relation to exam situations.
Year groups will also attend Data Conferences throughout their time at Newton Abbot College. Students will have the opportunity to look at their individual subject data, target grades and predicted grades and analyse their own performance. Students are given learning strategies to enable them to become better at their weaker subjects and maintain success in their strongest ones.
Extra revision sessions are made available to Year 11 students after College to ensure further support is given.
Reducing Exam Stress
From Year 8 onwards, all College exams are sat under external examination conditions in one of our larger spaces (e.g. the Daphne Collman Auditorium or the New Hall). This familiarisation with the expectations and techniques required in an external examinations situation ensures that students become accustomed to the environment, therefore reducing stress and worry around examinations as a result.
Year group examinations take place throughout the academic year. To find our information about timings and frequency of year group exams, please refer to the College’s Exam Dates.
Exam Access Arrangements
In order that students are not disadvantaged in public examinations and internal assessments, Access Arrangements are considered so that all students can demonstrate their underlying ability in line with their peers. This particularly focuses on students with a special educational need but can include, on occasions, medical needs or social, emotional and mental health issues.
From entry into Year 7, information is gathered in a range of ways including:
- Discussions with primary schools;
- Key Stage 2 SATs results;
- Key Stage 2 Access Arrangements;
- Prior Access Arrangements in place (mid-year admissions);
- Year 7 Group Reading Test (GRT), comprehension reading age data;
- CATs testing data;
- Parental concerns;
- Previous external agency support e.g. Educational Psychology, Communication & Interaction Difficulties Team, Speech & Language Therapy.
This information is used to identify the general level of support required and whether there is a need to consider specific support in internal assessments and screening for formal Access Arrangements.
Between entry in Year 7 and mid-way through Year 9, teacher’s feedback on how students perform in class is crucial as the knowledge of students needs develops.
By the spring term of Year 9, there should be comprehensive knowledge of the students; the support they have received and a history of need in order to complete Access Arrangements screening, which formalises their entitlement to Access Arrangements in their GCSEs and beyond.