Are teachers abandoning NC Levels? Research shows the exact opposite.

One of the great things about running a really big database like Yacapaca is that you get an absolute ton of data to analyse, and you can sometimes give definitive answers to questions other people can only speculate about. The ‘disapplication’ of NC Levels is a case in point.

Michael Gove told teachers to abandon NC Levels last September. As it happens, we keep a detailed log of the gradescheme applied to each student set within Yacapaca. This morning, I grabbed the last 1000 changes to existing gradeschemes, and ran the numbers.

NC Levels 2

Out of 1,000 in total, 446 chose to Continue reading

Improve comprehension by re-stating ‘not’ questions into positives

Here is a question from our database, with one of its distractors (incorrect answers), and a feedback statement written by a student:
Question Distractor Feedback statement written by student
Which one of the following is not a network topology? Bus Bus is not a network topology.
Do you see the problem? ‘Bus’ is indeed a network topology. By stating the question in the negative, the distractor becomes a double negative – ‘bus’ is NOT NOT a network topology. And guess wha Continue reading

Seven ways to implement differentiation in Yacapaca

My thanks to new member Yasmin Sheikh of Whitfield School in Barnet for asking why we show each question for 10 seconds before displaying the options. I realised that although we have worked like stink build opportunities for differentiation into every point of the Yacapaca process, I have never really explained them. Here, then is chapter and verse.
  1. Implicit differentiation: thinking time between question and options
    This gives students time to challenge themselves to get the answer before receiving the restricted possibilities of the options. This is a higher level of challenge, and it gives the student who manages it a great deal of confidence. You can gently encourage this by applauding the behaviour, but please don’t push students to do it if they don’t feel ready.
  2. Differentiation by time: Question speed
    Different students think at different speeds, but this does not correlate particularly with ability. Yacapaca times each answer from each student with an accuracy of Continue reading

An exemplary way to deal with trolling

Zahid RazzakWe have had a small problem recently with some students trolling the Peer Feedback system. If you are a teacher, you will know well that student empowerment can come at the cost of students being empowered to do the things they want and not the things you want.

95% of these inappropriate comments got caught by our filters and human moderators, so it wasn’t a major issue, but I felt it was time to reverse the trend. I wrote to our power users – the teachers who set the most assignments, and who therefore, statistically, must be teaching the largest number of trolls. I showed them where to check their students’ Peer Feedback statements, and asked them to address any issues they found with their own students.

I got a lot of really great responses from teachers, and even a few apology letters from students, but my favourite response came from Zahid Razzak at The British International School, Abu Dhabi. Here’s what he said

Many thanks for sending me those lists, I will certainly use this as an opportunity for a constructive lesson on how to provide feedback to others and netiquette.

Kind regards

Zahid

That’s the way to turn a problem into an opportunity!

To check your own students’ Peer Feedback statements: