This September, we intend to launch a new series of professionally written and edited online practice GCSE exams, entirely auto-marked.
The aim will be to raise GCSE results by at least one grade level for students who practice regularly.
- All GCSE question types, including multiple choice, short-text and long-text
- Exam-timed questions
- Instant, automatic marking
- Formative feedback
- Student motivation features
- Select questions by keyword, topic and difficulty
There is a huge pile of work to do between now and then. New software modules to be written – some of them using advanced AI. A whole authoring and editing process has to be created and populated with talented individuals. But there is nothing we’ve not done before. What this project does is for the first time pull together skills we have developed over the last 25 years into a single, amazing, product.
Here is a fairly typical budget for a smallish 5-teacher department in a mid-sized secondary school:
There is a third item that is usually accounted separately, cost of cover staff. If the average teacher is off for 1 week per year – whether for illness, external training or other reasons, they are covered by a supply teacher costing the school around £200/day.
- £200 * 5 teachers * 5 days per year = £5,000/year.
Cover staff are notoriously Continue reading
It all started one warm Friday afternoon about 12 years ago. I was observing a Y10 class in a fairly typical mainstream secondary school. They were taking a test using Paperless School, a now-defunct system that I had designed.
One pair of boys particularly caught my attention. They were lolling back in their chairs, chatting about snooker and doing their absolute adolescent damnedest to project a “too cool for school” attitude. Once in a while they would click on an answer on the screen so they could lay some vague claim to still being working.
Engaged with the task they were not.
Realisation slowly dawned that, as system designer, this was my fault. I had to take responsibility for Continue reading
Yacapaca is a gamified formative assessment system. I want to discuss briefly what that means, and how we interpret it in software.
Gamification is the art of making things you want to do anyway more fun, and more motivating. To understand why this is so powerful, I recommend this 12-minute TED talk by Seth Priebatsch because it is a lot more fun and motivating than the Continue reading