Jenny is absolutely spot on in her two central assertions here;
1. The student-designed pressure groups were of the very highest quality. Some of the winning presentations were so good we found ourselves wanting to sign up for the pressure group membership quirks they offered! I believe the high calibre of this final express stage is the culmination of the deeper-level thinking that we have witnessed in the earlier investigate, construct and express stages (as seen in the debates). In the main, it is clear that students have engaged well with the success criteria for pressure groups, and produced at least the standard of work we expected.
2. Regardless of the wonderful final products (they really were superb), this task may have been an unnecessary ‘bolt-on’ rather than a vital end-product, central to the process. This has led us to instead consider a more useful (but still formative, inquiry-based and engaging by nature) task, with the two of us providing a selection of varying important pressure groups to focus on. There are some pressure groups that have not been sufficiently investigated and require greater depth of understanding, particularly the comparison of the traditional trade union movements, pitched against modern cyberactivists and think tanks.
The students have undoubtedly gained a mastery of the pressure group topic as a whole, combined with a much improved ability to self-regulate their learning. If we can direct this metacognition towards an improved final task the students will be even better off next time around. The brainstorming of new ideas has already begun!