Reporting grades using New Zealand gradeschemes

New Zealand National Curriculum levels, and NCEA grades, are now supported by Yacapaca. If you teach in New Zealand, you can now:

  • view assignment marks in NZ-relevant grades
  • set targets in NZ grades
  • share progress charts calibrated in NZ grades with students and parents.

Here’s how. To access NZ grading, you need to switch it on for each of your student sets. See this video for how to do it in one minute per set.

To help the system calibrate accurately to each of your student sets, there are a couple more steps:

  1. Enter the average grade each student set currently achieving. The system uses this particuarly for less-popular quizzes where it does not have a lot of external calibration data.
  2. Use the Offline Assignments feature (under the More… tab) to enter marks from at least two assignments per student. The system uses this data for general calibration. Incidentally, some teachers in the UK now use the Yacapaca gradebook for all their grading, because of the way it can easily be shared with pupils and parents.

My thanks for help in setting the New Zealand grade schemes go to John Cluett of Albany JHS, Guy Oclee-Brown of Whangaparaoa College and John Wright of Howick College.

(Slightly) improved accuracy in KS3 grading

Our algorithm for converting quiz percentages into National Curriculum levels was originally based on a cross-grading exercise with some 2,400 students. We have just finished re-calibrating the algorithm with almost 100 times that number – 220,962 to be exact.

We collected the data by asking every teacher the approximate average level of their class. As a teacher, you don’t know this exactly, but we can be confident that if we gather enough data (8,093 different student sets in our case) then the errors will cancel each other out. We also eliminated those teacher gradings that were so far off our calculated value that we suspected they had been set without much thought. We then correlated this to the results from the ICT Baseline tests. These were selected because they are generally set and run in accordance with a tight prescription that delivers reliable results.

You can see the outcome in the graph: the new correlation is the orange line, the old is brown. The exercise largely validated the existing settings, the exceptions being levels 2 to 4 where our results had been a little optimistic.

We are working hard to gather, and validate, more data. As far as I am aware, Yacapaca is the only organisation in the UK capable of collating this much data on day-to-day student attainment, and I am determined that we put it to good use.