Children learning skills assessment

 8) There are a lot more demands on children’s time once they start secondary school,
longer school days, more homework and CCAs for a start, how can parents help their
children to become good at time management?
One problem parents often complain about is their children’s procrastination. Leaving
everything to the last moment before starting and consequently not doing their best work and
not achieving the results they want.
The solution to procrastination is organisation.
Students at high school often find that they either don’t get all the information they need to
plan well for assessments or they get so much information that they forget half of it. Parents can
help with this.
I think it is every teacher’s responsibility to provide every student with all the assessment
information they need at least a semester or term ahead or preferably a year ahead. 

information needs to include:
- assessment structure for the year – what % marks are awarded by internal assessment
and what % by external assessment, what % of internal assessment marks come from
assignments and what % from tests etc.
- dates for all tests and exams, all assignment due dates
- assessment criteria for all assessments – what marks will be given for and taken away
- teacher availability outside of classroom time
- whether teachers will accept a draft assignment ahead of time for comment before the
submission of a final copy
Parents can help by making sure that their school and their children’s teachers provide this
information and making sure their children record it all accurately.
Then they need to get hold of a large year planner, pin it up in a prominent place in the
household and make sure all that data is entered in correctly: 

- exam dates
- test dates
- assignment due dates
When this is done, then as soon as the student receives notice of the next assessment or
assignment s/he can break the task down into manageable segments and put them on the
timetable eg:
- completing any assignment can be broken down into a series of steps like:
a) Finding the information – research
b) Processing the information – reading
c) Planning the piece of work – sequencing ideas
d) Doing the writing
e) Proof reading, making corrections and handing it in
And each step takes a certain amount of time – decided on by the student involved. Then they
need to decide roughly when they will need to have the assignment 25% completed, 50%
completed, 75% completed, and mark the dates on their calendar/year planner and aim to
always finish all assignments with one day to spare.
The best students know where all the good resources are. Your child needs to be very familiar
with the school library, any local library, the school’s on-line resources and all the websites that
relate to their school subjects see for a list of good
Exam Timetabling:
One of the most important times for students to get themselves organised is in the lead-up to
exams. Creating a study timetable is a very important pre-exam task and is a great help to
organising study. One method for doing so can be found at
or in my book available at
9) Another big change at secondary school level is the increased independence students
have that requires them to make more decisions for themselves; how can parents
encouraging independent thinking and make their children more confident of their
To encourage independent thinking all we have to do is to encourage our children to think
independently. Which means differently from us! 

This is the hardest part for parents because we
want to encourage our children to think for themselves but we don’t want them to disagree
with what we know to be true. Unfortunately, every time we as parents insist that we are ‘right’,
that we know ‘the truth’ we are limiting independent thinking. The trick to developing
independent thinking is in not supplying the answers to questions but in helping children to find
the answers for themselves. This is where the internet is vital. There does not need to ever be
anything that is ‘unknown’ again. If a child wants to understand something or find something
out, as long as they have an internet connection they have the world of information at their
fingertips. But this doesn’t mean that there is no longer a need for parents’

 help it just means
that a parent’s role needs to be that of helping a child to formulate the right question to ask to
get the information s/he needs and to develop a line of inquiry to reach the answer they need.
Similarly with decision making, children only learn how to make good decisions by having
practice in doing so. We need to allow our children to make decisions for themselves – even
when we know those decisions are not the ones we would have taken - and to take
responsibility for all consequences. Decision making needs to be a learning process and every
decision can be reflected on later and analysed for whether it was a good decision or not and if
not what the child can learn from that experience.
It is when we provide the answers to our children and when we make decisions for them that
we rob them of the opportunity to practice being adults.

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