This skill will assist all students with their internal and external assessment tasks, particularly in subjects that have an external examination worth 50% of their final result (Mathematics and Science subjects).
Undoubtedly the single biggest change the QCE system has brought about is the way that students are now assessed. While the new assessment regime prioritises quality over quantity, the reduction in the number of assessment items comes with an extended period between each assessment item. The impact for students is that they must remain familiar with concepts and understandings over a longer period. When external examinations take place at the end of Year 12, some subjects will assess content from Units 3 and 4, meaning students will need to be able to retrieve content learnt more than 12 months earlier.
Retrieval Practice is a study technique described as a ‘memory recall challenge’ for the brain and tests what students can easily retrieve from their long-term memory when asked to write down what they can remember about a particular topic. An example of how a student can put Retrieval Practice into action may look something like the below:
- Students choose to focus on one of their subjects – one that requires memorisation of facts and concepts.
- Students are to write down everything they can remember about the subject or topic without accessing their textbook or class notes.
- After students have ‘retrieved’ the information (written down everything that they can remember), the next step is to ensure that they understand the facts and concepts by putting it in their own words or explaining their meaning to another person (like a parent or guardian)
- Students then go back and check their information for accuracy against their class notes.
Retrieval Practice works best when it forms part of a larger study program involving regular spaced practice, where students consistently go back to check their class materials and familiarise themselves with previous learning. There is no doubt Retrieval Practice is difficult, however, research indicates that the brain learns best when it is forced into discomfort and the work is not too easy. Retrieval Practice allows students to easily identify the concepts that are not yet in their long-term memory, and they can then target their attention to learning that material.
One of the benefits of the QCE system is the reduced quantity of assessment for students, however, this does bring the additional challenge of having more content to retrieve. I encourage all students to be building up their study notes as they learn across the term, rather than play catch up when the examinations get closer.
Attendance at School
Regular attendance at school is critical for your daughter’s learning and development. If your daughter is going to be absent during the term, parents need to request approval for this absence in writing from Ms Volp. While the value of a family vacation is accepted, as is the occasional need for attendance at events in term time, priority must be given to regular school attendance. This is particularly the case if your daughter’s absence will involve missing end-of-term assessment
There are circumstances that arise where your daughter can apply for an extension to an assessment deadline. Please note that, as per QCAA guidelines, family holidays during term time are not valid reasons for an extension. If your daughter falls behind in her studies, generally through illness or misadventure, then she is entitled to apply to modify her assessment deadlines. If your daughter feels that she may need to negotiate her deadlines, then I strongly encourage her to have a conversation with either Ms Lilley, Program Leader Middle School, for students in Years 7 – 9 or Ms Howe, Program Leader Senior School, for students in Years 10 - 12. Ms Lilley and Ms Howe are in the best position to ascertain whether your daughter will meet the requirements for adjustments to be made. Please note that any request must be made at least 48 hours before the due date.
Absences when assessment is due
If your daughter is absent on a day when she has an assignment due, your daughter is still expected to submit her assessment digitally using the process required for the specific subject. If your daughter is absent on the day that she is scheduled to sit an examination, please note that she will be required to complete the examination when she is back at the College either in a catch- up session during the school day or at a curriculum catch up on Thursday afternoon. Students will be expected to complete their missed examination as soon as practicable.