Subjective Assessment

Last week’s list of question types went down so well that I got motivated to do you another list, this time of ‘task’ types. ‘Task’ is Yacapaca-speak for what is also known as Subjective Asessment, or free-text. I have covered the principles of these already; this is a handy list of the actual settings for each type.

The Yacapaca subjective-assessment task types

Create tasks in any of these formats, by starting from the homepage of any author group of which you are a member.

  • Short Text
    Students enter plain text only, file uploads are disallowed and students may not add their own cards. Students answer one question per card, and the expectation is that the answer will be fairly short. As teacher, you can view all answers on a single page and mark each against a pre-written mark scheme.
  • ePortfolio
    Entry is HTML via the WYSIWYG editor, students can upload files and both add and delete cards from the original task you design. Marking is for the whole task. Teacher comments are enabled on each card, and the expectation is that you will use these to minute your conversation with the student as the ePortfolio develops.
  • Free-text survey
    Similar to the short-text test, except that marking and commenting are all switched off. You can download the responses to an Excel file so student can analyse the results.
  • Website
    Similar settings to the ePortfolio, except that the only file types that may be uploaded are those that can be embedded in a web page. You should require students to ensure that any uploaded file is actually visible on the page.

Finally, a note for advanced users. You can manually change the task parameters to create the exact assessment type that you want. I have yet to document exactly how it all works, but don’t be afraid to experiment in the sandpit.

Inspiring ICT course blogs at Shrewsbury High School

SHR banner

If you would like to see a really thorough and comprehensive exposition of the course blog concept, loook no further than ICT@SHR from Tim Curtiss. I first spotted it because Tim is a Yacapaca member (and author), and refers his students to it in the blog (example).

What is really inspiring, though, is the huge range of resources all being accessed by the students from this one central location. I have spotted links to resources from Cadbury, Revise ICT, Zamzar, Wayback Machine, the BBC, Teach-ICT, and many more.

The enthusiasm just shines out of this blog, as does the structure and discipline. Take a look, for example, at how the different classes are addressed through a dropdown that filters the posts according to how they are tagged. Simple, easy-to-maintain and effective.

How is it done, and how much did it cost? The course blog is a free account from (same software as this blog, btw) and as far as I can see, all the links are to free resources as well. Notable only by its absense is a £10,000/year school-wide VLE, which does not surprise me as Tim is doing far more than a VLE could, just with the free tools he’s using.

This is emphatically not a zero cost resource, however. Tim (and/or his team – I don’t know the authorship structure) has put a great deal of time into creating this, and is continuing to do so. What will be interesting is to see how much work it is next year, when there is a previous year’s course to build on.

Yacapaca: the movie

From the studio of Mike Highfield (who also produces our training CDs) comes a new two-minute demo of what Yacapaca is all about. Enjoy!

View full size

I want to get the word out as far and wide as I can, so please do embed this in your own blog or school website, where other teachers can find it. Here is the embed code:

<iframe src=”; frameborder=”0″ height=”465″ scrolling=”no” width=”620″> </iframe>

If you would like to just link to it, I recommend the full-size version, which also has built-in video controls:

Question Types

I spotted a conversation between Dave and Dafydd over on the forum, about question types in quizzes. These guys are two of Yacapaca’s most prolific authors, so if they don’t know, we have clearly not got the message across. So for reference, here’s the complete list. Bookmark it now for future reference!

The Yacapaca objective-assessment question types

These are the question types that can be compiled into quizzes and multiple-choice surveys.


The original multiple choice question. Two to six options.


Two to six checkboxes, none, some or all of which need to be selected to earn the mark. Students earn half a mark for one incorrect box, quarter mark for two, and so forth.


AKA “gap fill”. You can specify multiple correct answers, and also target specific incorrect answers with feedback relevant to that particular mistake. Matching methods include case-tolerant and fuzzy match.

Pair match (Drag’n’drop)

Students match two to six pairs of items. You can also use this to test for sequence.


Students select a point on an image such as a map or diagram. Selection inside the area you define earns the point.

Drag’n’drop Cloze

Students drag one out of two to six option words into a sentence.

Applied GCSEs Update

The Applied GCSEs in Business and ICT were a huge hit when we introduced them 2002. Recently, they have languished somewhat as they have moved from the old Paperless School platform to Yacapaca. Now, the move is complete, and I’d like to update you with the resultant changes:


Price reduction
I have reduced the cost from £25.00 per student to just £9.95 per student. The development costs are all paid off, and I would rather see the two courses continue to be used than worry about squeezing the last drop of profit out of them. The photocopy master course packs will now be sold separately.

Find the courses on Yacapaca (requires login)

Which versions to use
The Paperless School version will be discontinued over the Summer Hols. If you are locked into that and not experiencing problems, there is no reason to change until then.

The ePortfolio Pilot Project is being wound up now, but tasks assigned within it are quite safe until August. If you are already delivering through Yacapaca, I recommend you move to the integrated tasks right away; they simply work better, and have much easier marking.

Business Encyclopedia Glossary…
…is finally fixed. In the end we did the decent thing and rewrote the program from scratch.

The message board…
…has been permanently scrapped. That is one feature that never lived up to expectations.

Access controls
I am determined to keep everthing on Yacapaca absolutely free, which means that access to the course activities is free. We do still need to charge something for these courses, so to controll access we are putting password protection on the Business and ICT Encyclopedias. If you are a current customer, you will shortly be receiving an email with your password details for this.