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This guest post is by Ruth Greener, Teaching, Learning and Assessment Coordinator and Teacher of English at St. Andrews School, Green Valley Campus, Bangkok.
When I got the email from Yacapaca, with details and links for the Christmas Story competition, I was keen to try it out. Students at my very sporty school LOVE games and competitions, and I knew that with Primary students rehearsing for carol concerts and busy with Learning Journeys near the end of term, the chances of being able to book a lesson in the ICT lab were high. And a lesson that runs itself at the end of a long term? Well, yes, please.
And a lesson that runs itself at the end of a long term? Well, yes, please.
I tried out the Christmas SPA with my high-flying Year 9s first, and despite my mistake with the timing, they performed very well – fantastic concentration on the task itself, and also on the feedback. The quality of their writing for both was high. However, one thing that really got me invested in the concept was a comment from a student. He is always conscientious and prompt with homework, but he doesn’t really feel the love for English. He said he “really got into” writing his story – just in the 10 minutes he was given. Sure enough, peers voted his second best in the class – a position he would never normally ever achieve.
I became more convinced of the benefits when I shared the Answer Rank and Judgement Rank with the students – they were very interested, and like me, really valued the information about who showed good judgement, even if their own writing wasn’t great.
Having completed the same task with my Year 8 middle set, I am keen to develop and extend my use of these SPA writing tasks, especially in conjunction with drafting and improving. The tasks give so much opportunity to see how individuals think and learn, and the feedback the students are able to provide for each other is useful, accessible and insightful.
Imagine asking one of your classes a deep, but deceptively-simple, question. Have them judge each others’ answers anonymously, give their reasons for the judgements, then assess the reasons as well. At the end of the process you get a mark. Automatically.
No exercise books, no late-night marking sessions. Just high-quality formative assessment. Empowered, gamified, peer-supported learning that just works.
Now imagine running this lesson with an Ofsted inspector in your classroom. Think they’d be impressed? So do I.
So you can try SPA for yourself, I have created this set of demonstration exercises you can assign to your students. It costs nothing so give it a go.
Here are a few examples of SPA questions. Add your own!
- You are a serf in a Norman village. Describe your day.
- Where would you rather live – Singapore or Dubai? Why?
- How could you use a barometer to determine the height of a tower?
- Why can a cheetah run faster than a gazelle?
- Explain why metals are sometimes defined as plasmas.
- How would you measure the volume of a dog?
SPA is a technology we patented several years ago and have been quietly working on ever since. This is the first time we’ve had it available in the main Yacapaca interface.
Here is what you need to do to have Yacapaca fully ready for the new school year. Continue reading
Where a particular quiz appears in the search rankings depends on a combination of relevance to the search and quality. If you improve the quality, your quiz will rise up the search rankings.
1. Here is where to see the quality ranking. Note that although we show popularity, it does not affect ranking.
2. Click the Edit button. You only see Continue reading
This guest post is by Jez Thompson, Strategic Lead IT at The Open Academy in Norwich
Jez blagged a free trial of our J276 OCR Computer Science Practice Exams in return for a promise to write up his experience.
After reading How we cracked the auto-marking of GCSE short-text responses I asked Yacapaca for a trial.
Our Year 11 learners were privileged to trial Yacapaca’s ‘short-text’ artificial intelligent question practice exam questions; feedback from our learners was incredibly Continue reading