Examinations are over and learning has finished…or has it?
End-of-course examinations often get a lot of attention. There are good reasons for this. For students completing the HSC, these examinations will have a significant impact on tertiary admissions in the years ahead. For students in Years 7 to 11, the examinations serve as a crucial means to assess the progress in their learning. Therefore, it is important students spend energy on ensuring they learn what they need to know before the examinations. In this short article, I suggest that it is important to remember that meaningful learning continues to take place after the examinations.
Firstly, there are a number of curriculum areas that are covered after the examination period. For example, in Year 8 History, students will soon be exploring Shogunate Japan. This is a fascinating part of History, and the girls of Year 8 would miss out on some exciting learning if they switched off because exams were done. The same is true of all our subjects. There are many exciting things to be learned over the next few weeks.
Secondly, some of the most important learning occurs after a significant assessment. Over the next few weeks, the girls in Years 7 to 10 will receive marks for several examinations. It will be critical that the girls learn from each assessment they receive back. What are they doing well? What are some areas of weakness? What improvements need to be made for next year? Research consistently shows us the power of feedback in promoting learning. The girls are about to receive a large amount of feedback, and it will be vital for them to learn from all this feedback.
Finally, we need to remember that learning is not simply about preparation for examinations. Some of the most profound learning experiences the girls will have at school will occur outside the classroom. When I talk to adults, I frequently ask them what they learned at school. I often get answers like “being able to work with a range of people” or “to persevere”. When I ask where they learnt these things, the answer is often a cocurricular experience or group. The various camps our girls attend are not just some fun at the end of the year; they are profound learning experiences in their own right.
Let us celebrate that while the exams are over, the learning continues!