Paid subscriptions come to Yacapaca at last

After five years of not charging anyone a penny, we have finally started asking frequent users to pay a small subscription for the service. As any fee introduction is unlikely to be popular I wanted to explain a little of the background to the decision. I also wanted to show you that if you really have no budget to pay you have other options, based around the idea of ‘contribution to the community’ – see below.

Why now?

Because we need the money. It’s really that simple. For the last five years Yacapaca has been funded by our book publishing arm Chalkface. The availability of online content generally is killing the school book industry, and Chalkface no longer makes the profit needed to support an expensive-to-run project like Yacapaca. And it really is expensive: Yacapaca is run by a full-time and extremely dedicated team who don’t have other jobs, and who have families to support and mortgages to fund. On top of that we have offices, servers, data centre fees and all the rest.

Why not go ad-supported?

Oh, yuk. I’d rather eat broken glass.

How much does it now cost?

An annual subscription gives you the right to assign a certain number of quizzes per month. There’s a full rate table at the bottom of the post. The important points are

  • If you are a light user (and in a recognised educational institution) assigning no more than 250 quizzes per month, it’s still completely free. (updated from 100 qpm Dec 2012)
  • Graded levels above that range from just £99 up to £300 per year.

We meter assignments rather than quiz usage because this is completely under your control, and if you go over your monthly limit you find out at the time of assigning rather than in the middle of when students are taking a  quiz.

The only thing that gets metered is quiz assignments. Everything else is free and unlimited – number of students, number of teachers, offline assignments, quick assignments, analytics, everything.

Add as many colleagues as you want to your subscription; department or whole-school contracts are fine. So you can cover the whole school for just £300/year. I told you it wasn’t going to be expensive!

Any other fees?


I’m an author, do I get consideration?

Yes, you do. Authors are the lifeblood of Yacapaca, and your contribution to our community is fully acknowledged. Here’s how. Whenever one of your quizzes is assigned by a teacher (including yourself), we credit this back to you at a rate of 4:1. So if a teacher assigns 2 attempts your quiz  to 30 students, you get 2*30/4=15 assignment credits spread over your account for the next 12 months. What this means in practice is that if you are a moderately popular author, you won’t need to pay. And I’m very proud of that.

How can I earn credits by being a Champion?

There is another way to make a contribution to the community, and we will be delighted to reward you for it. Our Prizes! revision service is paid for by parents. Students love it because it has real prizes and teachers love it because it really improves results. Many parents are willing to pay for it provided it is championed by their child’s teacher, which is where you come in.

Read about Prizes! and if you think it’s worthwhile, become a Prizes! Champion. If a parent signs up via your personal link (requires login), we will credit you an extra 25 quizzes/month for the next year. Sign up just 20 parents, and you have already saved £99!

I need to get my subscription organised, where do I go?

Start here: (you will need to log in). You can buy by credit card, or download a proforma invoice that your school’s bursar can use to purchase on account.

31 thoughts on “Paid subscriptions come to Yacapaca at last

  1. Can you clarify what ‘assigning no more than 100 quizzes’ means…for example would assigning a single quiz to 101 students put me over the ‘light user’ limit?

    • Hi Damien! Yes, you have understood the principle. I set the free threshold at 100 so you could assign one attempt of each of three different quizzes to a class of 30 every month, which is as much as many teachers want to do. Above that, and I think it is reasonable to ask you for some contribution – be it authoring, championing or cash.

      In your case, you also have author credits, so your limit is somewhat higher than 100 anyway.

      Amy – I can’t find your current profile, so I’m not sure if you have author credits too.

      • Thanks Ian. That clears it up for me.
        Good luck with the new business plan.

  2. It would have been useful to have more notice…. We are a big school c1,800 so although I think ours is the only dept that uses it we will need a big subscription to set a test for every one in a year group. If I had known about it I could have put in a budget request and might have got it, but with no budget request I have no money and may have to stop using it 😦

    • Gillian, you are absolutely right and I apologise. This was due to be launched two weeks ago, which would have been much better. As it was, we only got it out when we did by working a week of all-nighters. It has been a far longer and more complex project than any of us anticipated.

      You may not be as isolated as you fear. If you take a look at your Yacapaca school page there are quite a lot of teachers from your school on there, and about 10 of them seem to be currently active. I don’t know if they are all from the same department as you, but there may be scope there to pitch for funding from a cross-curricular budget. Just a thought.

      And sorry again if I’ve dropped you in it.

  3. Hello Ian – I think I am one of only a few teachers in my school who regularly use Yacapaca – although my boss observed a lesson where I used it and said he felt he should get into it. The school pays subscriptions to Sam learning and I think something called MyWorks – I have tried both and in my opinion Yacapaca wipes the floor with them as far as Design Technology is concerned. I’ll mention Yacapaca at our faculty meeting tomorrow and see if I can get others to have a go.

    • Do tell me more about how we are better than SAM and MyWorks. I make a point of not knocking the competition, but I love it when other people do!

      > I think I am one of only a few teachers in my school who regularly use Yacapaca

      You had the legendary Hilary Williams in your school until she retired. She was one of our top authors, and she had the ICT department fairly well inducted into Yacapaca. You can see who is currently active on your school page. Any Yaquapacista who is feeling isolated should check this; it’s amazing how many people have not linked up with colleagues they may see in the staffroom every day.

  4. Fair enough – I understand the reasons and it’s a great product.

    Is this effective immediately? I use Yacapaca a lot and I’m concerned that I will run out of credits long before the cogs turn in our accounts dept!

    And now that it’s a paid service I’ll be hassling you to fix some of the really annoying bugs with Yacapaca… 🙂

    • Yes, it’s immediate. Stand over your accounts dept and watch them fax the requisition form to us. It really only takes them 5 minutes provided the expenditure is approved. We will upgrade your subscription same day, or same hour where possible. Even purchasing the old-fashioned way, you can get this done very, very quickly indeed.

      > And now that it’s a paid service I’ll be hassling you to fix some

      Now it’s a paid service, I will be able to afford to!

    • I have just now (Yes! Sunday evening!) come out of a meeting in which the developer of that particular component rather shamefacedly admitted that it’s not visible anywhere in the teacher module. We are going to try to get something in place tonight. I think it will become visible on your subscriptions page. Take a look in the morning, please.

      If you want to increase your free quiz allowance, take a look at your My Profile page under the More menu. That lists your courses in order of popularity. Click on any course to view and edit it. The quickest way to make a course more popular is to give teachers clear information about the context to use it in. For example, add a note about which textbook it relates to, or what level of student you intended it for.

    • Hi Yusuf! For the ICT baseline the recommended configuration is 2 attempts at each of 3 quizzes per student. So 3*2*180=1080. You will need a 1000 (£175) subscription, plus your 100 free allowance. That gives you enough to set an equivalent number of quizzes every month, so in other months you could use it for revision or homework.

  5. This is bad news. We use yacapaca a lot. However, our budget has been cut by 2/3rds over last three years. Your proposal is impossible to include in our budget. Far too late as all spending for this year had to be done last june.

    Second point. Who owns the intellectual rights to the quizzes. I think you will find it is the teachers if done from their own home and

    • Hi Raymond, sorry to hear it is going to cause you problems. The best alternative is to look at championing the Prizes! revision package. You only need 20 signups from parents to boost you up to a basic subscription level, and the feedback we have had is very positive.

      Who owns the intellectual rights to the quizzes?

      All quizzes are published under a Creative Commons Sharealike license as condition of using Yacapaca. This is essential to allow teachers to pick up and freely re-use each others’ work. The legal point to make here is that we now charge for use of the system and not access to the quizzes per se. It would be entirely legal for you to copy a quiz out of Yacapaca and load it into a different system, then use it there.

  6. Sorry to sound silly but is each credit worth 1 extra test so for example if I have gained 100 author credits, I can do 100 more tests over 12 months?

    • I’ve just this minute emailed you about this! Everyone’s asking. All the credits are expressed as assigned quiz runs per month (qpm for short). The way we actually calculate it is we look at the number of your quizzes run over the last 12 months, including by your own students, and add 2% of that number to your current monthly free allowance of 100. 2% x 12 months = 24% or one in four, near as.

      Make sense?

  7. Is there a time restriction for getting this payment to you? As others have said, it’s a bit short notice and I need to run some Yr7 Baseline Tests – when do we need to pay by. I think I will go for the subsription but ,like most schools, the process is very slow.
    I have started doing some authoring as well.

    • Sue, as long as you get the order in quick (most schools accounts offices will do this on the spot if you sweettalk them) then we can activate your subscription there and then. Doing some authoring is great, and will definitely increase your permitted quiz quota.

  8. Hi, I want to set a baseline test for our Year 7s. I’ve set the Level 4 test for two classes, a total of 53 pupils, but now can’t set the same test for a 3rd class.
    Am I doing something wrong?
    Just for the start of the year we wanted to set a baseline test so that we could assess where we’re starting from.
    Sue Gray

    • It’s certainly possible. The regulation way to use the baselines is 2 attempts of each of 3 quizzes per student 2*3*53=318 so you will do that easily within the lowest subscription band of 500 quizzes/month.

      • Sorry, I should have made it clearer…I’ve set only 1 attempt at the quiz. I wanted to be able to set the baseline test for 3 x 30 pupils this month (Sept) then again for another 3 x 30 next month.
        I’ve set the test for the first two classes which total 57 but now can’t set the same test for the third class.
        I’ve still got 47 “credits” so I should be able to set one more test for another class?

      • Just a thought – are there exactly 30 students in the class? 3*31=48, just one over. Frustrating, if that’s the case.

      • I have 3 classes of students …25 in one, 28 in another and 27 in the third = 80.
        I want to set these 80 students one attempt at a test, that should be 80 tests (and 20 below the 100 limit) but each time I try to allocate to the third class I get messages to say I’ll exceed the monthly allowance.
        Have I misunderstood something?
        I thought I could set up to 100 tests ‘free’.

        Sue G

    • You have just reminded me to add the two new one-month subscriptions to the table above. I would only recommend them to teachers who use Yacapaca just once a year; for anything more you are much better off with an annual subscription. That said, the one-month unrestricted sub is our third most-popular offering, so clearly plenty of people like it.

  9. I work for London Borough of Hounslow Adult Education Service. Do we count as a recognised educational institution? I have come up against the 100 Quizzes/mth limit after setting 2 quizzes 1 attempt, for 2 groups, of 10 and 7 students. Hoping I can get the 250 p/m free allocation! I’ve used Yacapaca for a few years, thanks for all the good work.


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