This is a guest post by Mr Chris Coleman, AST for E-Learning, Conyers School & Sixth Form College
As a teacher of ICT, I am always striving to provide opportunities for students to access learning where feedback is not only summative but also personalised and formative. Over the last five years, Yacapaca has proven to play a vital role in the way we assess students and provide grade style feedback. Quizzes have played a core role in homework and unit assessments, throughout every key stage in ICT, Creative iMedia, Computing and A- Level.
Curriculum levels and grades calculated from quizzes, are a satisfactory way of contributing to the assessment of a student; but it is not entirely personal. Within ICT, students create a lot of projects in different ICT areas; reflecting their capability. Many skills may not be conveyed via electronic testing. It is therefore essential that students can access, not only grades, but meaningful, personalised feedback which allows a student to progress.
The new feature; offline assessment grade book with feedback is a massive leap forward in the way in which we plan on using Yacapaca in the coming academic year. The portal for student assessment in ICT will become Yacapaca with the following focal points:-
- Students will complete quizzes, homework and assessments as standard.
- Students will submit their project work via portfolios in Yacapaca
- Students will receive a grade for their project work.
- Students will receive feedback directly in Yacapaca regarding their project work which is meaningful, personalised and relevant to them.
- Should a student require help on a certain area or topic, they can communicate directly with the teacher via the feedback system.
The biggest advantage here is that students can respond to feedback which is specific and personalised to them and they can effectively ‘notify’ the teacher via a comment when they have made improvements to work, based on the teacher feedback. The Yacapaca feedback system now allows a student to obtain very specific comments from a teacher as they progress through a year. As a teacher, it also means I will store all student grades and feedback in one place; as opposed to three or four. Printing feedback and results will also be reduced to zero printing for all of Key Stage 3.
The pilot of feedback in the coming year will allow students to access all online and offline assessments from any location, view teacher feedback, relevant to an assessment and also request help from a teacher. Parents can also see student progress and support students based upon the feedback given by their teacher. In essence, Yacapaca will centralise all data for a student and allow them to track their own progress; not only in quizzes, but through every strand of ICT.
Ultimately, I foresee Yacapaca system being the central place where students can sit assessments, submit work and gain feedback; without the need of using lots of different tools. Students will be able to gain feedback at a time which suits them; catering for the 21st Century Learner.
As many departments within the school use Yacapaca for quizzes, I also envisage this feedback will play a vital role in providing feedback directly to students in all subjects including practical departments (e.g. Sport, DT etc.) These departments use quizzes very infrequently, but find they are feeding back to students on a regular basis. Yacapaca will provide a point of recall for students in these subjects when feedback needs to be referenced.
In my opinion, a grade is only portion of assessment. Allowing a student to understand why they received that grade and how they can move to the next grade, turns a system like Yacapaca; which is a personalised assessment environment; into a personalised learning environment with the focus being centred upon progression over grades.