Are teachers abandoning NC Levels? Research shows the exact opposite.

One of the great things about running a really big┬ádatabase like Yacapaca is that you get an absolute ton of data to analyse, and you can sometimes give definitive answers to questions other people can only speculate about. The ‘disapplication’ of NC Levels is a case in point.

Michael Gove told teachers to abandon NC Levels last September. As it happens, we keep a detailed log of the gradescheme applied to each student set within Yacapaca. This morning, I grabbed the last 1000 changes to existing gradeschemes, and ran the numbers.

NC Levels 2

Out of 1,000 in total, 446 chose to Continue reading

Disapplying National Curriculum levels: the official Yacapaca response

Yacapaca delivers criterion-referenced assessments. This makes it very useful for doing things like predicting exam grades, because exams are based on tightly-standardised criteria. A Grade C is the same in Barnsley as it is in Basingstoke. At the upper secondary stage (KS4 in England) we have been able to support a wide spectrum of qualifications, and given teachers a reliable tool with which to measure progression.

The English National Curriculum levels have allowed us to do the same at Key Stage 3. The levels are sufficiently well defined that we have been able to Continue reading

Can you baseline Computer Science?

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 CS baseline test, nor should CS content be included into an ICT baseline test.

Our approach instead has been to create an entire Computer Science section for Yacapaca. This contains a rich mix of content, all results of which can be reported as National Curriculum levels. Because there are no defined level statements for Computer Science, we use consensus grading; with enough data (>50 questions), Yacapaca will tell you the level a notional average teacher would assign to your student.