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Regular Subject Knowledge Tests #2

05 Jun 2019

Read more about this strategy here.

"I could see an obvious, immediate impact on the pupils."


My Context

I work at a mixed-gender voluntary controlled secondary school in York that has an Ofsted rating of 2. The school has 1,287 students between the ages of 11 to 18 and 6.7% of the students are entitled to free school meals.

What I wanted to improve

I wanted to improve subject knowledge for the year 11 pupils at my school.


The strategy that I used was the Regular Subject Knowledge Tests sourced by the Journal of Educational Psychology. This CPD strategy aims to test students once a week to allow teachers to assess how much students have learned while allowing the students to identify gaps in their own learning. 

What would success look like?

I wanted to see an improvement in the students’ retention of subject knowledge to show that they have absorbed the information and to check that each student had understood what they had learned. Through this retention of knowledge, I also wanted the students to develop their confidence with practice exam questions.

How did I approach it?

I created quizzes for my class with 15-18 points for each one. Some questions worth 1 point, others 2 points and each quiz focussed on one key topic of a module. I gave the students the same quiz twice before moving onto another topic.

After the first quiz, I set a revision homework so they would do the quiz again. After they did the quiz, we marked it straight away and I took the scores in - then I could say “so and so, you doubled your score!” which they liked. This allowed the students to see how much their subject knowledge had improved.

Resources and Cost Required

The only cost required was for sweets that I purchased to reward to the students as prizes for doing well on the tests.


Results and Conclusions

Success Criteria

What changed and why?

Evidence improvement in retention of knowledge

Mainly with 2 years 11 students, where there were two occasions where someone’s score dropped.

For those two particularly they got high scores the first time and took the foot off the pedal. Rest of them it was successful.

Improved confidence with practise exam questions

Nothing changed, unfortunately. The strategy needed to be over a longer period of time to see if this improves or not. 


Overall Rating - 3/5

I would recommend this strategy. It had such an immediate impact on them when they could see they had improved their score. However, the two outliers meant that I didn’t fully achieve my goal, therefore, this strategy is still a work in progress. While the initiative has made a difference over the 6 weeks, it still needs to still be embedded.

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