Assessing Computer Science is a very different challenge from assessing ICT, so a different approach is needed. With ICT, there is standard content that we can expect all students to have covered. Computer Science is far more varied. For example, we can expect every student to have studied at least one programming language – but which one? For this reason, there is no possibility of a single Computing baseline test, nor should Computing content be included into an ICT baseline test (and it isn’t in ours).
Our approach instead has been to create an entire KS3 Computer Science section for Yacapaca. This contains a rich mix of content, all created by Yacapaca authors who have been teaching Computing for at least the last year.
Now here’s the good bit. All results of quizzes in the Computing section can be reported as National Curriculum levels (still – read why here). This means you can pick the most relevant assessments for your students from across the entire section, secure in the knowledge that the results will return a valid grade.
How do we do this? With no defined NC level statements for Computing, we instead use a crowdsourced grading algorithm. With enough data (>50 questions), Yacapaca will tell you the level a “notional average teacher” would assign to each of your students.
You don’t need a paid subscription to access and use the Computing resources; subscription tiers are tied only to the level of usage by your students.
Update 1/9/2014: with my arm twisted up my back, I did produce a single Computing baseline course in the end, and it has been quite well-received. Here are the details.