The great game: dodging blame for the 2020 A-level results train wreck

The A-level results came out on August 13th. In the absence of exams, they were estimated from several data sources using a fairly intelligent algorithm. Results were well up on last year, yet there were such howls of anguish that the government was forced into a humiliating policy U-turn four days later. What on earth went wrong?

In retrospect, we can see the algorithmic approach was doomed from the start. Let’s walk through this, taking a Continue reading

Jez Thompson reviews the Computer Science Practice Exams

Jez ThompsonThis guest post is by Jez Thompson, Strategic Lead IT at The Open Academy in Norwich

Jez blagged a free trial of our J276 OCR Computer Science Practice Exams in return for a promise to write up his experience. 

 

After reading How we cracked the auto-marking of GCSE short-text responses I asked Yacapaca for a trial.

Our Year 11 learners were privileged to trial Yacapaca’s ‘short-text’ artificial intelligent question practice exam questions; feedback from our learners was incredibly Continue reading

Funny exam question answers

I thought you might enjoy some of answers your student have been giving to the short-text questions in our J276 GCSE Practice Exam module.

Actually, I don’t know whose students these are. The students’ responses are completely anonymised when we see them. As the first results to each question come in, we analyse the performance of the auto-marking algorithm and tweak the scoring rubrics to improve performance. In the process, we discover that student humour is alive and well…

    • Describe the features of RAM. (2)
      It can breed with sheep, they are fluffy and have Continue reading

How we cracked the auto-marking of GCSE short-text responses

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Courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/niexecutive/9570621018

The mainstay of most GCSE exams is the short-text question. For our new GCSE Practice Exams, we have developed a free-text marking engine that is robust enough to deal with real GCSE questions and, more importantly, real students. That system is now Continue reading

GCSE Exam Practice modules coming in April

Exam results

This April, we are launching a new series of professionally written and edited online practice GCSE exams, entirely auto-marked.

The aim is to raise GCSE results by at least one grade level for students who practice regularly.

The first fruit of our labours is J276 OCR Computer Science Practice Exams. Follow the link to see the current state as we complete development.

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!