At this time of year, many of our girls are sitting their mock examinations. Time was spent over the Christmas period revising, reviewing and practising. Soon they will receive a result that reflects their performance in a particular paper on that particular day. For some, the result will be pleasing, for others less so. However, what is more significant to me is how the girls respond to their results.
I am always reminding the girls that the path to success is not smooth. It is certainly not linear and no one achieves success without meeting obstacles along the way. If they do badly in their mocks it is not a disaster and, indeed, in them catastrophizing the failure is unhelpful. In the grand scheme of things, it is a performance in a paper on a particular day. Reflecting calmly on what needs to be done next, being self-regulated in their learning, is more productive than spiralling down into a vortex of despondency.
I liken it to the analogy of learning to drive. Some will show a ready aptitude and others will take longer to master the skill and pass the test – but that does not indicated how good their driving will be in the long term. Learning is about a process not a single outcome. Mock exam results are simply a signifier of their current performance. It is not a measure of their future performance and after the mocks we ask the girls to think about the skill of strategy planning. We stress the importance of reflecting upon their performance, reflecting on their revision strategy and if needed spend time reviewing the strategy. Developing the skill of strategy planning and developing the attitude of self-regulation, are attributes we are trying to develop in our girls. To us these are the hallmarks of an effective learner.