How to achieve academic success at Sadiq Public School

 

 

Our approach to teaching and learning is based on the knowledge that learning only occurs when cognitive effort is generated to the extent that information is made into a long-term memory that can be readily recalled. We use traditional teaching methods informed by current research in education and pedagogical practices.

The Sadiq Public School approach is based on:

  1. Teachers impart knowledge and skills using a variety of media – talking/lecturing, written notes and diagrams on a whiteboard, demonstrations, initiating practical activities for students to experience what is being learnt.

  2. All lessons are taught on the assumption that as the course unfolds, students are creating their own class notes.

  3. Students use one standard textbook for each subject; the book recommended by the School. Students possess and use one lined or gridded copy book per subject, into which class notes are created. (Thinner books with less pages are preferable, to minimise the weight being carried from lesson to lesson. If students require, additional copy books should be used – but always a separate book for separate subjects.

  4. A student’s class notes are created from a combination of teacher-guided media and student-created media.

  5. The class notes should replicate/mirror the course outline and the textbook chapter headings so that students can clearly see that their class notes match the course and the examination.

  6. Teachers will show students how to use note-taking/making techniques such as underlining, using different colours, diagrams, lists, boxes, etc.

  7. In general, the first half of the copy book is for class notes and the second half, indicated with some form of marker is for practice activities, e.g. homework tasks, the questions at the end of a textbook chapter, etc.

  8. Students MUST keep a complete and neatly presented set of class notes. If a student misses a lesson, it is his/her responsibility to add in missed work. This may be done by copying another student’s copy book.

  9. Frequently, teachers will check students’ copy books for completion, neatness, accuracy, etc., and to write personalised / individualised feedback to students.

  10. Occasional paper handouts may be trimmed and pasted neatly into a copy book, but this should be kept to a minimum because the act of writing/drawing the class notes into the copy book is the student’s first step in learning the material being taught by the teacher. Pasting handouts into copy books teaches students how to use a glue stick and scissors; it does not teach a student anything about the material on the handout. 

 

Writing class notes is the basis of our teaching and learning – but of course this is supported by other experiences such as demonstrations, practical activities, etc.

Why SPS students do all of their O Level examinations in one session

 

The Senior Management Team and the Heads of Departments collectively feel very strongly that our students do significantly better in their O Level exams and then their A Level exams if they take 3 years to prepare for all of their O Level subjects' exams.

 

Previously, students were taking English, Pakistan Studies, Islamiat, and Urdu Second Language examinations in an earlier exam session (Oct-Nov). This caused two problems:

  • students were not fully prepared to take these examinations because they had not completed the full teaching & learning time required to take the examinations, and

  • students took time away from their other subjects (as study leave and then while taking the examinations).

 

 

There is a simple truth/reality to learning and passing exams:

more time in class with teachers results in better learning/exam results.

 

All O Level subjects and examination results are of equal importance

Some say that examination results in O Level English, Pakistan Studies, Islamiat, and Urdu Second Language are not important. This is absolutely NOT the School’s position. All O Level subjects and examination results have equal value and therefore have equal importance. It may be correct that O Level results have little significance in applications to overseas universities, but O Level results most definitely count in the IBCC Equivalence calculation.

 

The burden of 8 examinations

Some feel that taking 8 O Level examinations is an excessive burden for students. SPS staff believe quite the opposite; taking some O Level examinations early places greater burden and stress on students because:

  • they are underprepared to take these 4 examinations with insufficient class time and

  • have to take 2 separate sets of examinations.

 

The 6-8 weeks of lost teaching time in the other subjects results in an additional burden/stress for those subjects’ examinations in the later (May-June) examination session.

Students should, of course, aim to achieve good passes in their O Level subjects i.e. Cs or above, in all subjects. This is more than sufficient preparation to do well in their 3 A Level subjects, again remembering that even the most demanding universities in UK and other countries ‘require’ only/about an AAB for admission to most courses in most of the Russell Group  (top tier) universities.

 

IBCC Equivalence

For those aspiring to universities in Pakistan, it is very clear that the IBCC’s Equivalence tables/formulae means better grades in O Level will result in a higher overall Equivalence score. It is very clear that students have a much greater likelihood of achieving a higher overall score if they have more class time, i.e. more time for teaching and learning and preparing for their O level examinations. There is an irrefutable correlation between time spent in school and grades.

 

Preparation Time

The essential issue raised by our Heads of Departments is quite simply that having all 8 exams in the same session, at the end of the C3 year is a matter of time in classes with teachers. By taking all examinations at the end of the C3 year:

  • Students in English, Pakistan Studies, Urdu, and Islamiat would have another 8 months of studying.

  • Students would have another 7-8 weeks of class time in their other subjects because the students would not miss lessons in the October-November period. The Heads of Departments of these other subjects have explained in very clear and logical terms that students lose momentum, lose focus and lose continuity in these subjects.

 

For better grades, do retakes in October

Students who want to improve their O Level marks can do so by retaking exams in either the following October session (or the following May session). A few do this now, but only a few students and only for a few subjects. This seems a far more sensible approach because any study for these October retakes can happen during the Summer vacation.

 

Reducing students’ stress/anxiety

SPS’ Senior Management Team has a great deal of experience with teenagers and examination stress.

  • Some students have poor time management skills, partially due to bad advice from non-professionals or people with alternative motives.

  • Having students complete their examinations in two examinations sessions simply doubles the pre-exam stress felt by students.

  • Being under-prepared for an examination is an additional stressor.

  • And losing 7-8 weeks of subject learning (as happens with the Maths, Physics etc. subjects during the October session) adds further stress.

A major strategy to minimise stress is to prepare for examinations calmly and methodically. Teaching students to manage their time is integral to this.

 

Related matters

  • SPS has stopped the practice of withdrawing all students at the end of Matriculation and O Level and then requiring them to apply for new admission to I1 and H1. It is expected that most students will simply be promoted from C3/S3 to H1/I1, with promotion criteria similar to the promotion criteria applied at all other class levels, e.g. from C2/S2 to C3/S3.

  • SPS has reduced the required marks for promotion to H1 and Intermediate 1 (for example to take the H1 Medical and Engineering classes, the required aggregate score is reduced from 65% to 60% and for Commerce it is reduced from 60% to 55%.)

 

Examination preparation

In the weeks before examinations, students would typically use the class notes and text book to create a set of study notes by re-writing, often in short-hand/note form, using diagrams and mnemonics etc. Doing this reinforces and  consolidates the student’s class notes. Students would also complete the questions at the end of each chapter on their own. They would attend lessons and, under the teacher’s supervision, complete individual exam questions from past papers, in such a way that the teacher ‘unpacks’ a question, clarifies the demands of the question, and students and teacher collectively create ‘perfect’ exam answers – all of which models how a student would take an examination, i.e. read the question, unpack the requirements of the question, clarify key terms/vocabulary in the question, pause, think, plan an answer, and then write an answer.

What makes a Public School's curriculum different?

Public Schools understand that there is more to an education than just academics and examination results.

Sadiq Public School students learn a broad curriculum. The only way to fail is not to participate.

 

All Sadiq Public School students are required to participate in academics, sports, clubs & societies and community service. The core element of Sadiq Public School’s curriculum is discipline: attendance, punctuality, and positive behaviour.