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

A very short primer on gamification


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

62.5% is the ideal quiz score. Here’s why


 What is the optimum average score for a quiz? 100%? Not in my view. It is 62.5%, or a number close to that.

When using a quiz as a summative assessment, your goal is maximum discrimination. That is, you want to be able to see as clearly as possible which students have ‘got it’ and which have not.

Consider a Continue reading

Time to update the Gap Analysis for your quizzes

Every quiz has, or should have a Gap Analysis template. The is the set of key concepts that the quiz addresses, that is reported to both teachers and students so that you/they can track what has, and what has not, been grasped. It is a really powerful feature for both learners and teachers, that is unique to Yacapaca.

As of last week, we have placed the gap analysis for each quiz firmly under the author’s control. Here is where Key Concepts are shown… Continue reading