Why did they get that result?
Like really, really why?
What specifically, on their page, had the marker tick that criteria?
These and more questions that your teen can ask about their study, will create more success in future, when they answer them in detail.
We’ll talk about why most students don’t do this and the misguided reason behind it, and discuss the benefits that are waiting for your teen when they do.
You’re listening to the Parents of Hardworking Teens Podcast, episode number 35 - questions that your teen can ask about their study in order to create more success in future, including the one overarching, one-word question. We’ll talk about why most students don’t do this and the misguided reason behind it, and we’ll cover what the HUGE array of benefits are.
Hey VIPs, welcome to the podcast.
I’m really excited to talk to you about this topic this week.
I know I say that almost every week, but it’s always true.
You know, some people ask me how I keep coming up with things to talk about on the podcast, but the truth is I never have that problem. I have hundreds of ideas all of the time - I have a notes screen on my phone for things I think of when I’m out and about and I have a spreadsheet on my laptop full of ideas I think of while I’m working on things. The problem I have is deciding what to choose and when’s the best time to share it with you.
So I want to talk to you about your teen ‘knowing why’ they got a certain result.
That’s the one word question I want every student to be able to answer. WHY. Whether that’s in an exam, an assignment, an essay. It could just be for a piece of homework that gets marked but really I’m talking about the more significant pieces.
And when I say WHY, I’m not talking about having some big ‘why’ for life in motivating them in their study, although that can be important.
But, I’m talking about knowing WHY- specifically - they got a particular mark or grade or result on an assessment. And I really am talking about the nitty-gritty details here.
Why did they get a C+ on their essay? Why did they get 5 out 5 for that question on the exam?
This isn’t about answers like ‘because they didn’t spend enough time on the essay’ or they had to rush it because they had extra music rehearsals that week.
Or they got 5 out of 5 because they did loads of revision and knew that topic really well.
I’m talking about knowing what, specifically in their writing, on the page, had them hit, or miss, certain criteria in the marking descriptors.
And having them do this whether they’ve gotten a great result, a disappointing result (whatever disappointing is for them), or an okay result.
I remember talking to a student and his dad a while ago now - honestly it was probably a couple of years ago. I think it was when he’d just joined the 10WGT and I was talking with him and his dad on the phone - they were on speakerphone together, and they were telling me the things they wanted him to get out of the 10WGT, why his dad had enrolled him - and at some point in the conversation, I think it was the dad that said - ‘he has the potential, he has the ability because he just got an A for his Engineering assignment’.
And after I said congratulations, that’s great, to the student I straight away asked him “Do you know why you got it?” “Do you know specifically what was in your writing or what you did that got you the A?” and his answer was “No, not really”.
And so I told him to submit that assignment to a coaching call.
All students in the 10WGT get to come to 3 live group coaching calls with me or Gemma our English-Focus Coach Gemma - I promise I’m going to get Gemma on here soon to share her wisdom and insights with you - but the coaching calls are there so students can get personal and specific feedback on their own work, any questions they have - So they can really see how all of the concepts and strategies and techniques are applied to their own tasks, how they relate to their own writing or
Because obviously, I wanted this student to know exactly why and how he got that A grade. That is what all of the coaching I do orientates around: the why and the how.
So that he can do it again. Not that he’ll ever get the exact same task again. Which is why I think there’s the temptation for students to just see the mark or acknowledge the grade and then move on. They’re busy, they’ve likely got other homework or assignments they’re working on, and as much as they get told to take on any feedback that’s written on there, they know they won’t ever have to repeat that exact task again or answer that exact same set of exam questions.
And then, there’s the added temptation that if it’s a disappointing mark, then they’re often encouraged to put it behind them and move on. “Okay, don’t worry, just focus on doing better next time.”
Now, I’m not saying dwell on a disappointing result emotionally, but I do want students to really and truly know what went on there! Not just brush it under the carpet. If they’re gonna have the best chance of not making the same mistakes again, and again I’m talking in how they respond, how well they met demands - I’m not talking about the specific subject content - they need to know where they missed the mark (literally) and where they wrote stuff that was not necessarily wrong, but not needed. Where they might’ve gone off track. AND they also need to know what exactly did get them marks, because it’s unlikely they literally scored zero. What specifically in that paragraph or even exactly what in that sentence matched the descriptor or met the certain standard in the criteria.
Because that sort of knowledge and understanding, the skills, the true understanding of mark schemes and success criteria and how to meet them, is what carries forwards into all future tasks, exams and assignments.
I wanted that engineering student and I want every student to be able to know all of this for themselves. And I know it sounds really boring or feels really arduous to most students. Going back over something that’s already been ticked off the to-do list.
Luckily I find it super-interesting and exciting. And so when I can do this WITH students, and we do it together, then that interest and excitement rubs off just a little bit - actually, often a lot once they see the benefits and how much more confidence they have even just after one review.
That’s why a significant part of the coaching we do is doing these sorts of dissections. The coach and the student doing them together.
And this is why I call my 10WGT program ‘training’ and the personal support students get when we work personally together, coaching. Rather than teaching or tutoring.
The naming is very intentional.
I train students so they have the skills, strategies and techniques and can action them for themselves. I don’t teach them stuff. Just like a personal trainer in the gym or a sports trainer. They explain the concepts or the techniques and have their client put them into action.
And a coach takes those skills, actions, techniques and hones them, has the sportsperson master them so they become so good at them, they become automatic, instinctual.
A coach does a lot more close analysis.
For example, the Australian Open has just finished here and tennis is a perfect example of this. I say this as a total spectator. I love watching tennis, I’m not a good player at all. In fact I’m not even a player.
But you know that pro-players aren’t just playing a match, winning or losing and then moving on. With their coach, they will be doing a post-match analysis together of every match.
Why was that a poor shot, how would you do it differently?Why did that shot work so well.
Why did you decide to make that shot in the moment - so can they can do it again if it worked well and know what to do differently and how to approach the decision making process or the execution differently if it didn’t.
This is the same with your teen’s study and their completed tasks. The tennis player is never going to have their opposition play the exact same shots and match against them, but the concepts, skills, techniques and strategies they need to use are the same. Your teen is never going to have the exact same essay, but the skills of writing a sophisticated essay are the same, no matter the topic.
Your teen will see big improvements in their results, how long it takes to complete a task and in their level of confidence by identifying what they did well and working on maximising that, and identifying what can be improved and then work on building up those weaker areas, so that just like the tennis player, they perform better. They’re more skillful, faster and more effective.
So, here are a few questions you can use with your teen in order to help them do this.
First of all:
Where did I get marks or achieve certain criteria?
And importantly do they know WHY?
What specifically met the requirement of the question, or achieved the marking descriptor?
Could they have still got those marks in an easier/faster way if it was say, in an exam. one of my favourite skills to build is less words in an exam answer for the same marks.
And then have them consider:
Where did I lose marks or not meet certain criteria?
Why exactly? Do they know exactly what was missing or what stopped them reaching a higher descriptor?
Do they think they could do it next time, now that they know?
And of course, if not, then how can they go about figuring that out.
They don’t just want to answer ‘no’ and leave it there.
That’s not going to make any difference to future results and will actually leave a dent in their confidence.
The tennis player doesn’t say ‘yeah, I’m not great at drop shots, I’ll just avoid those in future’. They work with their coach to solve for that.
Now, figuring some of this out might be a challenge to do by themselves, so if they’re not in the 10WGT or Next Level Coaching, then perhaps they can do this with their teacher or a tutor or even a study-buddy where they can figure this out together - or of course you might want to jump in and help them.
But hopefully this episode will help show just how valuable this is, how important it is to do this dissection process. How it is totally worth that time and effort.
So, like I mentioned, if you want to have me train and coach your teen in this, then get your teen in on the 10WGT. You can see all the details at www.rocksolidstudy.com/program .
They get trained in the concepts and skills and they get to come to three group coaching calls and get personal help there.
Or if they’ve done the 10WGT, then jump on the waitlist for Next Level coaching where Gemma and I work with your teen personally up to twice a week if they want. We are currently full but if you’re on the waitlist I’ll keep you informed of future spaces and enrolments and I share some clips of our coaching and some insider tips with just those on the waitlist. You can get on that at www.gradetransformation.com/NLpreview. That’s N-L for next level - preview.
Or, of course use those questions I shared to get things going at home.
Whatever will mean they aren’t making the same mistakes over and over - often without even realising it, so they don’t miss out on the same sorts of marks or criteria across different subjects or tasks.
So they know and can repeat the things they’re doing well, and really optimise for them. So they feel confident and in control of their study and aren’t relying on guess-work or hope.
In fact, I’ll just add this. I recently did a consult with another 10WGT student and her mum and they talked about how the student was always second-guessing herself. How she’d previously gotten B+’s but had also had D’s. And she wanted to ideally get some A’s in future and of course say goodbye to those D’s, but most importantly of all: do it with confidence. To be able to confidently tackle any task or exam question and feel assured in her study.
And I think this is part of what gives that assurance. Your teen completely understanding exactly why they got the result they got. Not just because of the time or effort they put in, because we know that time and effort are not a direct correlation to results. But because they have the knowledge and understanding to align exactly what they wrote to the demands of the task or question and the requirements of the mark scheme.
So, get your teen dissecting their completed tasks, doing those post-match analyses, getting them into the nitty-gritty details of WHY, and I’ll see you back here next week. Have a brilliant week, see you then.