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Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds CHRIS HARRISON: Certainly, some of the productive work that I’ve seen is actually if the work is sent out, and the kids are expected to do it, and then there’s a sort of meet-up point later to see how they’re doing– if it can be encouraged to work for others– so one of the teachers I saw the other day it was during very much getting them to design questions to one another after they had been doing some for a while on a particular mass task. And then what they were doing was they had to have it evaluated by two other people. And the answers worked out. And then when it came back, they were all sent in.

Skip to 0 minutes and 42 seconds And the teacher then produced a whole exam paper for from that, that they could then go and practise later if they wanted on all of that.

Developing students thinking using exam questions

In this video Chris talks about the idea that there are a number of different ways teachers can use exam questions that may support learning on top of just asking students to answer them.

Some examples of how exam questions can be used to deepen students learning are:

  1. Provide students with exemplar work and mark schemes that cover the same idea in different contexts. Students use the mark schemes to mark the answers. Students have to provide a guidance comment saying what the common aspects were of the questions.
  2. Get students to mark incorrect work that has common mistakes included in it. Students have to explaining why answers are wrong and what an individual would need to do to avoid this mistake in the future.
  3. Give students exam questions and ask them to produce the mark scheme for it. Later share the mark schemes and ask students to compare theirs and note where there were differences and why they think this was.

Students can be encouraged to create mind maps and flash cards of the information they have built up, and shown how to use retrieval practice to help them build up the knowledge they assessed themselves as lacking. Retrieval practice is a strategy in which bringing information to mind enhances and boosts learning. Deliberately recalling information forces students to pull their knowledge ‘out’ and examine what they know.


Plan an approach to help your students to make links with prior knowledge and identify gaps. How might you then use this activity to feed into the next step in learning, whether this would be synchronous or asynchronous?

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This video is from the free online course:

Teaching for Home Learning: Secondary Science

National STEM Learning Centre