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During SATs week, GCSEs exam period and Mental Health Awareness Week, we take a look at whether parents could pass a GCSE in science.
Parents often say "exams were harder in my day", but do they really appreciate how hard GCSEs are? And could they do better than their children? When it comes to GCSE science, it looks like the answer is a resounding no! When online learning company Tassomai asked parents to put their science knowledge to the test, they didn’t compare to their children who scored significantly higher marks.
The results of the quiz may bring some satisfaction to thousands of stressed out teenagers sitting GCSE science exams today. On average, parents only got 6 out of 15 questions right, compared to 9 out of 15 for the students studying for their GCSEs. Whilst the parents remembered some key facts like pH values and the difference between exothermic and endothermic reactions, they struggled to recall Newton’s Laws or the meaning of terms like “Oxygen debt”.
Vic Goddard, Principal at Passmores Academy in Harlow – and known to many from TVs Educating Essex – thinks a lot of us underestimate just how hard GCSEs are, as well as the stress they can cause some students.
Vic says, “Mental health issues and anxiety around exams is a serious problem and one that we’re coming across more and more in our schools. GCSEs are the first exams that really matter to their chances of employment etc. and a lot of students feel under immense pressure to get good grades. They’re studying 8 or more different subjects at the same time, so it’s important we don’t underestimate the challenge and the impact of exam stress.”
Murray Morrison, a former private tutor and the brains behind Tassomai believes that technology can reduce exam stress by helping us approach learning in new ways, “Parents often underestimate the stress caused by cramming for exams. It doesn’t help us retain information in the long term – and like many of the popular methods students use to revise, it’s been shown to be ineffective.
"The most powerful way to learn is through repeated, targeted practice over as long a period as possible and technology can make that process more efficient. ‘Little and often’ is one of the key principles behind Tassomai which uses an algorithm to adapt learning quizzes to each individual student so that they really practise the content they need.
"By the time the exams come around, students who’ve completed the program are confident that they’ve got the knowledge in their heads and this hopefully makes the exam process a great deal less stressful.”
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