17Oct/19Off

Mocks and the sky falling in, Chicken Licken Syndrome

Mocks and the sky falling in, Chicken Licken Syndrome

 

Sometimes I ask why do we do the mocks? In fact, in recent years I have charted that where I have students in schools which don't do the mocks, they perform better in the leaving certificate in a few months time. Why? Because they don't have to recover from what I call "Chicken-Licken-syndrome" where students seem to genuinely feel like the sky is falling in on top of them! The mocks are a test run - you are meant to make mistakes. That's the whole point of doing them.

 

Often I refer to this time of the year as "crushing season" because I watch the students who we have built up since September lose complete confidence in their abilities. We have to build them up again from the floor. I really question at this stage if the mocks are a good exercise at all? Surely there must be a better way to have a test run?

 

Ironically, if you did brilliantly you also need to have a little bit of caution at this stage. I often find the students who do exceptionally well in the mocks take it as a given that this is how the papers will look next June. They may be totally different. Did you just get lucky with the topics or do you really have a good exam strategy?

 

The biggest mistake that is made at this stage is students and parents alike being convinced the mark you get now is the mark you will get next June. This is not true. The course has not even been completed in many cases. The students don't know their best topics yet and they have often had little or no exposure to exam papers at this stage.

 

Students and parents are often bullied into dropping down a level in the subject. This is also a very bad idea at this stage of the year. The higher you learn a subject too for the longest time possible the better you do in June. For example, if you continue in an honours class and then drop down to ordinary level closer the time you are more likely to get at least a B and often an A at Ordinary level. In a world where points matter this is much better than "passing" an ordinary level paper. In fact, with the new grading system, it may still be better to get a lower grade at a higher level. Do the points math and the worst case scenario before you drop down. But the higher you aim and the more complex the material you cover, the better you will do with an easier paper if you do decide to play safe in June.

 

The sky really isn't falling in and there is loads of time left to fix the mistakes - but it is very hard to show people your mistakes when you are made to feel so bad for making them.

 

You need to do a proper evaluation of your exam papers. Where did you do well? What went wrong? Did you waste time? Did you read a question wrong and answer a different question to what was asked? Did you miss a whole section? Did you get stuck on one math problem and not move on? Did you not know any quotes? Are you good at the details or the generic writing?

 

For some students with learning difficulties, the mocks go badly in a more spectacular fashion than most. I myself did very badly in my mocks as do many students with learning difficulties. As the department of education has not granted who will and will not receive accommodations in their exams, very few if any schools allow these students to sit their exams in a similar environment to how they will in June. We are overwhelmed by the exam hall experience. I've conducted some research into why some students are hyper-sensitive and how this can be helped. We don't have a reader and hence we read the questions wrong. It's common we take the wrong meaning and answer a completely different question to what has been asked. If you are going to use a laptop in the state exams maybe you didn't get to do this in the mocks? It's rare I find for students to get the accommodations they need and will have in June at this stage for the mocks.

 

Some students haven't got to grasp with the whole course in one "bulk" form. They are struggling to put all the sections together and maybe they haven't covered their best section yet. There are people who need to see the big picture first.

 

No one tells you how to sit an exam and for some students they really do need to do a visual map of the answer and the question, this is highly discouraged. Often, it is implied to be a waste of time when it's not at all. It's a vital way of thinking for visual students.

 

There are so many factors as to why students find exams hard. With so much time left to refine the way you work best, the sky is not falling in. It's time to realise that making mistakes is how we learn best. How we evaluate our mistakes is what will determine how much we learn from them and how much better we will do in the next exam. The one that matters. Put the mocks in context, they are a test run.

 

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17Feb/15Off

“Self Reflection, Feedback & Praise in Education – Why Do We Do The Mocks?”

self-reflectionFrom the very beginning, when I started my own 4 education projects we allotted time every couple of weeks to “Self Reflection.”  This meant that even students as young as 5 were encouraged to think about how far they had come.  Very simple questions like, “what can you do now that you couldn’t before?  What is easier?  What is still difficult?”

If you don’t check in with yourself you don’t know what you have achieved.  Never mind comprehend what is left to do.  A sense of achievement is vital.  Otherwise, why do we do all this work?  What is the point of learning if you don’t see who you are?

Also, this gave my teachers an opportunity to offer feedback on what was happening.  Though, to be honest, feedback is something that is integrated into every task and exercise due to the comments we ask children, parents and teachers for.  It’s second nature to mentor by encouragement and leave people with a very clear idea of where they stand at all times.

Feedback is vital in education because anyone with a sensing personality needs the reassurance that they are doing it right.  Kinesthetic people look for feedback all day long all around them - even in their physical worlds - never mind emotionally.  Anyone with a high feeling element to their personality takes criticism very badly and rarely finds it constructive.

There are a variety of personalities that thrive on praise - they stop functioning and lose all motivation when it is lacking.

In 1925 Dr. Elizabeth Hurlock showed in a study that students who were praised and encouraged got vastly different results from those who were not or were criticized.

By the end of the 5th day the results showed:

Those given praise – 71% improvement

Those criticized – 19% improvement

Those ignored – 5% improvement

This is huge and has been known since 1925.  So, why are we still giving students such a hard time at such critical stages in the exam process?  What I have to explain to parents on repeat loop at this time of year is that your daughter or son is not the same person they were in February of this year as they will be in June - 4 months is a lifetime in the development of a person between the ages of 15 and 18.  So much will have happened.  They will have changed their appearance, their friends, their music tastes and so on.  They have been learning so much information and working so hard to understand how to study, how to answer questions and most of all they have learned from their mistakes in The Mocks!  So, why would you think they were the person they were 4 months ago and would they get the same result now?

I have written about The Mocks before, the top tips for why we do them and how we get through.  But this year I'd like to write about something slightly different.  The "Chicken-Liken-syndrome" where students seem to genuinely feel like the sky is falling in on top of them!  The mocks are a test run - you are meant to make mistakes.  That is the whole point of doing them!

For some of The Students at The Homework Club®, Confidence Club®, The Purple Learning Project® and Homeschooling® this happens in a more spectacular fashion.  I myself did very badly in my Mocks as do many students with learning difficulties.  As the Department of Education has not granted who will and will not receive accommodations in their exams, very few, if any schools, allow these students to sit their exams in a similar environment to how they will in June.  We are overwhelmed by the exam hall experience.  I'm conducting research at the moment into why some students are hyper sensitive and how this can helped.  We don't have a reader and hence we read the questions incorrectly, we take the wrong meaning from the question and we answer a completely different question!

Some students haven't gotten to grasp the whole course in one "bulk" form - they are struggling to put all the sections together and maybe they haven't covered their best section yet!  No one tells you how to sit an exam and for some students who really do need to do a visual map of the answer and the question, this is highly discouraged and implied to be a waste of time when it's not as all.  It's a vital way of thinking for them.  If you are going to use a laptop, perhaps you didn't get to do this in The Mocks?  There are so many factors as to why students find exams difficult.

I call this time of the year "crushing season" because I watch the students who we have built up since September lose complete confidence in their abilities.  We have to build them up again from the floor.  I really question at this stage if The Mocks are a good exercise at all?  Surely there must be a better way to have a test run?

The sky really isn't falling in and there’s loads of time left to fix the mistakes - but it is very hard to show people your mistakes when you are made to feel so bad for making them.  We do The Mocks as a test run to get feedback, encouragement and hopefully some praise for what we are doing well.  To learn from our mistakes.

Many people reading this might find all of these reasons lacking in the current system.  They may find that it is an ultimatum to drop down in a subject.  Even if it is worth whatever risk going for the higher level and getting more points - valuable points you need.  Doing a subject and passing it is of no benefit if you don’t have the level you require for a course or the points at the end of the day.  After all, these are the only reasons we sit exams in the first place - to get the qualifications we need!

Dr. Naoisé O’Reilly,

February 2015.

 

15Jul/14Off

Supporting University Level Repeats, Fails & Assignments

University Level Student Support
University Level Student Support

From my experiences as a University Level student myself, my role as mentor and my various positions within a 3rd level University including MBA Faculty Manager, Acting Registrar and Masters Coordinator I know what it takes to get through college!

Surprisingly the endless swatting of the course material is a very small part of the road to success...

21Sep/12Off

What can Profiling do for a Studnet’s Future Career?

This short video I recorded at the Irish Times Higher Options Conference in RDS explains why profiling is so important for Students early in their education life - You can pursue the Career you were born to do!

24Jan/12Off

Interview on LMFM Radio regarding links between Depression, mocks and Gifted Students

This morning I did an interview with LMFM on the latest press release concerning our findings on the links between Depression in students facing the Mocks and how this effects gifted students in particular. How should we change the Mock exam structure to combat these difficulties that are being created for students nationwide?

Link to Radio Interview on LMFM

 

Filed under: media, Mocks No Comments
23Jan/12Off

3 Year Irish Education Study Identifies Links Between Gifted Teenage Schoolchildren Battling Depression & The Mocks

3 Year Irish Education Study Identifies Links Between Gifted Teenage Schoolchildren Battling Depression & The Mocks

(Blanchardstown, Dublin, Ireland, Monday January 23rd 2012).

The results of a 3 year Study by Irish Educationalist, Dr. Naoisé O’Reilly, reveal a number of links between the rate of depression & gifted teenagers whose talents may or may not have already been spotted in schools around the Country.

Dr. O’Reilly, Founder of The Homework Club, confirms that teenagers are falling through the cracks in the education system as their talents aren’t recognised & this makes them prone to depression.  In her experience, certain teenagers, depending on their personality types, can also fare worse.

On The Mocks front, she states, by 2nd year in school it’s already been decided whether students are good or bad at Maths for Life.  ‘What are schools setting people up for?’  The Irish Mocks exam structure requires major & urgent reform as the current model is destroying young lives.  Afterall, you can do nothing in life with foundation maths.

There are also disgraceful situations where gifted teenagers who slip up on small stuff in class are branded as ‘slow’ by teachers.

   

Introduction

Welcome to the Purple Learning Project.

The aim of the Purple Learning Project Foundation is to create a legacy of the methods which Dr Naoisé O’Reilly has developed since 2009.

The methods in learning and personality theory have been developed while working with people of a variety of ages, backgrounds, and cultures. The methods have been applied to the education, business and sporting environments. The ages are in the spectrum of 4 to 70's. The methods include: Purple Profiling, Purple Processing Scales, The Periodic Table of the Development of Results, Forget Phonics Reading Method, Purple Pre-School Success and so on...

There has always been a clear distinction for Dr Naosié in working with people who currently need help within the system and leaving behind something of integrity for the future generations.

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