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Teaching Issues

Reducing your workload and raising attainment with low stakes tests

HistoryHomework.com’s approach has been taken directly from research into how students best learn and retain knowledge in the long term.

Cognitive science tells us that the two best strategies to boost learning are practised/ repeat testing and distributed practice. You can find out more about them here.

Historyhomework.com has been built so you, the history teacher can get set your students short engaging history tests on any aspect of the GCSE unit you teach. You then receive precise data showing you the gaps in their knowledge. This will allow you to adapt your planning and intervention strategies to help close these gaps in your future teaching.

Distributed Practice and Repeat testing

By being able to set the tests repeatedly you can re-test your students on one or many different aspects of the content as many times as you like.

In this way, you can ‘distribute’ your practice. So, if you are three-quarters of the way through teaching, for example, the thematic unit you can set homework tests on the aspect of the course you have just taught. Or you can set tests on the area of the thematic course that you taught three weeks or a month ago to see how well your class remembers and recalls the content.

Once you have finished teaching your thematic unit and perhaps you have moved onto your British Depth Study, you can still set tests on any aspect the thematic study. Or you can set a test for homework one week on the content they are presently learning and the next on content that they were taught 2 weeks / 2 months / 6 months ago.  Therefore you can distribute the learning and testing of any different topic throughout the two or three years of study.

In this way, you can repeat test your students again and again. This distributed practice will have a positive impact on their results.

HistoryHomework.com – marks your homework and revision tasks for you!

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Reducing Workload

Because the tests have been pre-written based on the precise requirements of the specification, you don’t have to spend time writing tests yourself or making them varied and engaging. This has already been done for you.

Unlike other testing websites, you can simply drop in any digital student list into the software and your class lists, student login details and passwords will be automatically created for you within seconds.

The tests are self-marked by the software which means that you don’t have to mark their homework either. You simply log in and check to see how they did.

Useful Gap analysis  Data

The questions on HistoryHomework have been set to assess the following areas:

  • AO1 – recall of substantive knowledge
  • AO2 – second-order concepts
  • AO3 – source skills
  • AO4 – interpretations
  • Chronological understanding
  • Exam question decoding
  • Exam skills

This means that the teacher gets feedback in a number of ways.

  1. You can see how well the class performed in the main assessment objective area for that particular test.
  2. You can see how well the students performed in each of the questions and identify any tricky areas of content.
  3. You can see the exact questions, what skills they tested and how well individual students performed in them. This will allow you spot gaps in their knowledge and understanding.

Teachers shouldn’t be forced to work harder, setting and marking low stakes tests. That is why HistoryHomework provides you with a library of tests that you can filter and choose to use with your classes.

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About the author
Richard McFahn
Founder of History Resource Cupboard, Richard has worked for 20 years as a history teacher, subject and senior leader, Advanced Skills Teacher, local authority adviser and history ITE tutor.

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