Sick as a parrot of Controlled Assessments? Try these ideas…


My Y11s are in the final throes of their last Controlled Assessment. (Except of course for the lucky few who are having to redo a piece they did in order to clamber painfully over a grade barrier…). We’re all having a splendid time, of course – but we are under no illusions as to the nature of the test. As all MFL teachers know, the Controlled Assessment is more of a test of pure memory than of linguistic skill. And so the crux of the matter is how to help students learn their paragraphs, once they have written them and their teacher’s involvement is over.

So I sat down with my class, happily working away on polishing their paragraphs, and we put together this list of techniques and tools that they have found useful. I hope they may be of use to others:-

  • While we are working our way through a particular topic, I give them a question booklet like

    CA French GCSE Preparation Education and Career 2013 by bellaale

    Each lesson, I set them a question or two from the booklet, and they email me their answers. I annotate them and hand them back. Often we use a pupil’s answer for some AfL work at the beginning of the following lesson. They can then combine two or three answers to make a nice paragraph for the actual CA task.

  • This year’s Y11s have found Textivate really useful, especially the game where you try typing in the missing letters.
  • They have also used Memorizenow for similar purposes, which allows you to paste in texts before gradually removing the words/letters while you learn them.
  • …and Cueprompter, a free online autocue tool
  • They have created Quizlet sets of their own key vocab, to make sure it is really embedded in their memories.
  • One or two of them have recorded their paragraphs on their phones, and listened to them until it is coming out of their ears…
  • …and even got their phones to demonstrate correct pronunciation of tricky words!
  • Ultimately, though, the one thing they kept saying was unavoidable, when push came to shove, was REPETITION, REPETITION, REPETITION…

Oh what joy. What a good thing we’ve managed to have fun in lessons along the way! If you have any other suggestions, please let me know…


2 responses to “Sick as a parrot of Controlled Assessments? Try these ideas…

  • Gisele

    A lot of good ideas but you’re right only repetitions work. One of my student who was struggling the most cracked it yesterday and said his parents had worked with him which helped him a lot. We also ask our yr 12 to act as buddies and just make the students practice in short burst but often.

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