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• Colin Hopkins
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Good morning Matthew,
I share your thoughts. Many years ago when I was teaching at a high performing private school, I encountered a very similar problem, except for me, the antagonists were the parents. Some students choose their topics inappropriately, and as a result did poorly on the task. This resulted in some concerns from parents. The response was to go to just one topic, hence a basically level starting ground. The outcomes were the same, the good students rose above the pack, and the dis-organised students continued to struggle.
For me as a teacher it was boring, and it just introduced more issues with plagiarism, and copied work, it solved one problem but introduced others. My understanding is that the VCAA only audits Unit 3 and 4 work, so Unit 2 is entirely up to the school to decide.
I would strongly advocate for you to pursue students choosing their own topics, even if as a compromise (to start with) it is from a restricted field offered by you. I would provide the students with a general list of possible options, and negotiate the detail with each student. My experience is that the more autonomy the students have, the more committed they are to the task, and the better the outcome.
Having a ‘standard’ format for the presentation allows for consistency in this aspect of the report. I always encouraged my students to take lots of photos of their investigation, and to use these as the basis of the report. I always used to value the students problem solving abilities, and they needed to demonstrate this clearly.
I hope that this assists with your thinking. If you would like further clarification, please contact me on colinhop@bigpond.net.au
Colin Hopkins

Colin Hopkins
Participant
Post count: 3
in reply to: 2021 Section B Q9a #8442

Hi Nam,
v^2 = u^2 + 2as, is an equation suitable for constant acceleration. In this scenario the acceleration cannot be assumed to be constant, so this formula is not appropriate. The student is not able to find the value for either ‘a’ or ‘s’ to use in this formula.

In my opinion v^2 = u^2 + 2as, is a manifestation of conservation of energy, only when the acceleration is constant.

I hope that this goes some of the way towards explaining what the exam report is saying.
Colin Hopkins

Colin Hopkins
Participant
Post count: 3

Hi Tim,
My experience is that there are two components to revision. The first is content based, the second is process based. Students need to review all the content by doing past exam paper questions. The process is developed by completing papers under exam style conditions, which includes use of reading time, cheat sheet, VCAA formula sheet. Students need to identify what they know, and what they don’t know. Improvement comes from working on the areas that you don’t know, not by repeating content that you already understand.
I would recommend that you that you don’t particularly wait for next term, try to start this process as early as possible, preferably this term. Set the students some revision on content over the term break. If possible get them to come in over the break and do the first paper. My suggestion is that you start the revision process by doing the 2017 exam, if possible in one sitting, by hopefully doing it during lunchtime and your adjoining class time. Correct it for the students and identify the areas of weakness. Set more problems for each student to address these. A week later set another exam to be done under exam conditions. Again correct and return with specific follow up questions. I would repeat this in the last week of schooling. Once the students have left for swot-vac, they can continue to complete papers and correct them themselves. Be very mindful that when self-correcting, we always mark ‘what we meant to say’, whereas the examiner marks ‘what is said’. These are often quite different.
I find that students need very speedy turnaround times on completing an exam and getting it corrected and returned. I would always plan it so that the turnaround time was as small as possible (preferably overnight). This commitment by you never goes unnoticed by the students, and you often get more effort from them. Go through the mistakes each student makes individually if possible and then set them remedial work to do.
My experience was that some students got lost when left to organise their time effectively. If this applies to your students, spend some time working out a home study timetable with them. Make sure it is achievable for the student.
For me the priority was to get the students to be able to monitor their understanding and make continual improvement. I would leave the 2021 exam and the 2022 NHT paper until late in the process, as these are the closest that you will get to the 2022 paper. Get the students to complete these under exam conditions and if possible mark them for the students. It is important that students get as much work done as possible before they actually leave school, because once the leave they tend to focus on the ‘next’ exam to the detriment of the others. Experience is that leaving it all until just before the actual exam is not effective, as students struggle to absorb new knowledge so late in the year. There is a tipping point for students, where trying to understand material turns into putting information on the cheat sheet to use instead of understanding. Initially the aim is to understand the content, but eventually time runs out for this.

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