Personal Best is the title we’ve given to our strategy to engage students in the process of always seeking to improve on their past performance – of pursuing excellence.
As in many schools, each term, our students take a sequence of internal tests. These take place in our main hall and are run as exams. This means our students have the opportunity to frequently practice what it will be like to sit a formal assessment in the same environment which they will sit those later, higher stakes tests.
Faculties design their assessments to test whether students have retained the factual and procedural knowledge from their current and previous units, which means that students are required to interweave their knowledge and the tests become an increasingly reliable measure of the students’ knowledge retention over time.
Our teachers then work hard to quickly turn round the marking of these tests, so that an accurate and clear picture of the students’ progress and attainment can be gained.
Following on from the marking and data collation, we publish three ranked lists of students in each year group on subsequent days. The first is for attendance; the second for progress and the third for achievement. A real buzz is generated around the boards as students look to find out their ranking for each of the elements.
Each term, prior to the tests, students receive a revision guide, designed by their teachers. Drawing on the work of Phil Stock, we have run assemblies to help students prepare effectively and they take part in academic mentoring sessions with their tutors.
Improving on Your Personal Best V2
These have been designed to help them to reflect on the highs and lows of the previous term’s performance, so that they can see how they can tweak their preparations, make marginal gains and improve on their personal best next time.