Digital Learning

Sleuthing the Gaps in Students’ Literacy

It’s easy to lament that there are often fundamental problems in Independent Study projects undertaken by students, but the specific difficulties are not always identified. Dr Andrew Shenton digs deeper into the Extended Project Qualification work of Sixth Formers and shows where the information literacy gaps arise.

The Problem

How often do teachers lament apparently basic failings in the independent learning work of students that seem to recur year after year, irrespective of the topic? Still, when taking a long-term perspective, unless a conscious attempt is made to probe the problems in some detail, the danger emerges that teachers rely too much simply on impressions they have gained over time, rather than on systematically gathered data. In 2016, keen to adopt a more rigorous approach to the exploration of student shortcomings, I set about analysing the work of Sixth Form candidates pursuing the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). The inquiry led me to collect evidence over three years so, in total, I scrutinised the efforts of candidates from 2016, 2017 and 2018. I had worked closely with all these students as their EPQ teacher, supervisor and co-assessor. 

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