Reflections on geography exam results 2017

The results for the 2017 NCEA geography externals have recently come back. This is an important opportunity to reflect on how my students went and what can be done to improve for the 2018 externals. Prior to these results coming back I knew there were 3 key challenges my students faced when sitting their NCEA externals:

Attendance was a concern – not just in terms of turning up to the externals but also attendance in class prior to the externals – particularly level 3 students who had missed a significant amount of in class teaching and learning. Unfortunately, the students that hadn’t been turning up to class for a large chunk of time throughout the year (to their credit) made the effort to turn up to the external. However, this unfortunately meant these students were likely lacking a lot of the material required for them to do well in the exam. However, a number of students who had attended class decided to not turn up to the external.  Here is a break down of the 2017 exam attendance:

Level 1: Overall, 10 students were entered in 2 externals 91007 and 91009 on the day 6 out of 10 students turned up to the exam and only 4 students sat 91009 and only 6 sat 91007. 2 out of the 6 students received and achieved grade for both external.s

Level 2: Overall, 19 students were entered in 2 externals 91240 and 91242 and on the day 6 students turned up to the exam with only 5 sitting 91240 and 6 sitting 91242. Only 2 students achieved in these externals (1 achieving 91240 and 1 achieving 91242).

Level 3: Overall, 12 students were entered in the 2 externals 91426 and 91427, on the day only 5 students turned up with most students only sitting one external (despite preparing for both). 3 students achieved in these externals overall.

Takeaway learnings/reflections: Based on my conversations with students after the exams – the majority of students at level 1, 2, and 3 despite intending to sit both externals on the day students were thrown off after reading the exam question and although some students were simply unprepared (due to the previously mentioned lack of attendance in class). The remaining students were prepared but lacked confidence when the wording of the question differed from their practice exams. This is something I will be working with students on during 2018 and I would like to explore this further as part of my “Teaching as Inquiry”.


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