Our first-ever 8th Dan student

8th DanMeet Beatrice Wongsanguan, Y11 student at Patana School in Bangkok. Beatrice is the first student ever to achieve the 8th Dan belt in Yacapaca.

In case you do not know, we copied the Judo belt scheme to describe our levels. Students earn White Belt almost immediately, the work up through the colours to Black Belt. After that, they get into the Dan grades, and progress becomes much harder. Achieving each grade is 60% more work than achieving the previous grade was. 60% may not sound like a lot, but it compounds up very fast.

Belt grades are earned primarily through diligence. Regular practice, regular revision and participation in the voluntary extension activities such as peer assessment are key. Beatrice has been using Yacapaca since Y7 (I looked up her records) and is clearly a top performer even in a school renowned for its work ethos.

Congratulations Beatrice! Read the full story in the Patana magazine.

Introducing Sequence questions

Being able to work out a sequence is a classic demonstration of understanding and this makes it a popular assessment option.

The new Sequence question type in Yacapaca supports up to 5 items to be sequenced, with text, images or both. It uses a simple and intuitive drag-and-drop interface.

sequence

This sample quiz will give you a flavour of what is possible.  Try it!

GCSE Exam Practice modules coming this September

Exam results

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.

Planned features:

  • 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.

I’m excited!

This one accounting small change could save every teacher 8 hours per week

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.

CYPE-Infographic_E_Wales_cropped

Cover staff are notoriously Continue reading

Timed questions help students get in ‘flow’

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