Shared WordPress archive for different post types⤴

from @ Sharing and learning

In a WordPress plugin I have custom post types for different types of publication: books, chapters, papers, presentations, reports. I want one single archive of all of these publications.

I know that the theme template hierarchy allows templates with the pattern archive-$posttype.php, so  I tried setting the slug for all the custom post types to ‘presentations’. WordPress doesn’t like that.  So what I did was set the slug for one of the publication custom post types to ‘presentations’, that gives me a /presentations/ archive for that custom post type(1). I then edited the archive.php file to use a different  template parts for custom post types(2):

<?php $cpargs = array('_builtin' => False,
				  'exclude_from_search' => False);
	$custom_post_types = get_post_types( $cpargs, 'names', 'and' );
	if ( is_post_type_archive( $custom_post_types ) ) {
		get_template_part( 'archive-publication' );
	} else {
		get_template_part( 'archive-default' );
	}  
?>

See anything wrong with this approach? Any comments on how better to do this would be welcome.

Notes:
  1. 1 could edit the .htaccess file to redirect the /books/, /chapters/ …etc archives to /publications/, which would be neater in some ways but would make setting up the theme a bit of a faff.
  2. Yes, the code gives all the custom post types with an archive the same archive. That’s fixable if you make the array of post types for which you want a shared archive manually.

The post Shared WordPress archive for different post types appeared first on Sharing and learning.

All that glitters is not gold⤴

from @ School Leadership - A Scottish Perspective



As an educator, my aim is to help all the learners in the schools I lead to discover their talents and achieve their potential. I recognise them all as individuals and aim for them to retain their individuality as they grow and develop. One of my schools has 'Go For Gold!' as a school motto, put in place by a previous headteacher and pupils. I have never used this too much, as I have always had concerns about some of the messages it sends out. But this year, we took this as the theme for all our assemblies, and have shaped these around the qualities and dispositions we all need to be the very best we can be. So we have talked about collaboration, perseverance, persistence, resilience, and pupils have shared successes and achievements they have had both in school and outside. Some of these have involved pupils in winning medals and trophies, but many more have been about personal achievements that are more intrinsically valued than extrinsically recognised.


However, I still feel the messages we are trying to give are often deflected by those of the culture and society in which our learners exist. It still seems to me that our politicians, media, sports organisations, culture and many parents, are still obsessed by winners, at the expense of everyone trying to achieve their own personal best. Don't get me wrong, I am not anti sport, or excellence in sport (or anywhere else for that matter). I have been involved in sport all my life, both as a competitor and as a coach, and I really appreciate and understand the talent, dedication and sheer hard work it takes to get to the top of any sport or activity. But, for me, sport and achievement have always been about more than just the headline grabbing elite performers. It has to be about the grassroots, the millions of participants who take part because of their love of the activity, and the coaches and others who help them have those opportunities, and help to develop their understanding of how they can support their own wellbeing throughout life.


To many governments sport, and the winning of gold medals, is about national pride and prestige. We can trace this back in the modern era to Germany in the 1930s, then Russia, China, East Germany, and all the western governments that thought the same but were perhaps not so explicit in the strategies they employed. This led to State-sponsored doping programmes and ruthless approaches to the treatment and abuse of athletes and coaches, many of which we are still seeing across many sports today. The 'win at all costs' mentality which has embroiled athletes, coaches and sports and has led to one scandal after another. Amongst all this the Olympic Games has become a bloated and tainted version of what it once was, riven by by drugs, cash and political egos. And yet we still talk about 'legacy', especially when countries seek to justify the vast amounts needed to host them. But, what is the 'legacy'? It is supposed to be a sporting infra-structure and culture that remains and is detectable years after the event in the country and society that sacrificed so much, and paid so much, to be the host. We only need to look at what has happened in Rio, and in London and the UK, following their Games, to see what happens to these dreams of 'legacy'.


However, there is a subliminal 'legacy' to events like this, and it is; that if you don't have a medal, preferably gold, you have failed. That's the harsh message we are giving to young people and to the sports they love being part of, not to mention those who have worked so hard to get to such events.




Sport is awash with money from the lottery and elsewhere, but after each major games there is a reappraisal of funding distribution. If you have not made your target, as an individual or a sport, you will face having your funding cut or removed altogether. The message is, 'we are only interested in winners'. The fact that a sport like badminton, for instance, is one of the most popular participatory sports in the UK, counts for nothing, and funding is gone. The ruthless way that some sports governing bodies treat their athletes sends out very similar messages. Cycling, swimming, athletics and others have been embroiled in accusations of bullying and treating their athletes in very harsh ways, as they have come under more and more pressure to deliver results i.e medals. The same sports have also been caught up in doping controversies and, to me, it seems this is a direct result of the pressure for ever improving results to maintain funding, and the amounts of money that are available at the top end of so many sports.


All of this re-enforces the message that young people get that winning is the 'be all' of sports participation. You might want to be the best you can, but if you are not at the top and capable of winning medals, we certainly don't value your efforts the same. Is this culture much different to the ills of the German, Soviet and East German systems of the past? In terms of the messages being sent out, implicitly and explicitly, I don't think there is a lot of difference. We still get politicians and media basking in the light of Olympic and World Championship successes achieved by other, but which they see themselves as having facilitated. What about the rest, the majority?


Should I be saying to our learners, 'we are only interested if you are the best'? Of course not, but isn't that what society, culture, media, advertisements, are saying to them all the time. In the light of this bombardment messages about winning, and being the best, it is amazing that so many young people still want to be active participants in sport, though it might go some way to explain the huge drop-off experienced by many as they enter their teenage years. Look at the messages given from programmes like 'X Factor', 'The Voice', 'Britain's Got Talent' and so on, some of which ridicule and humiliate entrants before the one 'winner' is identified and the producers move on.


My further worry is that we are in danger of importing the same culture into education, with the same disastrous results. So we have inspections where 'Good' or 'Very Good' are not enough. Now we have to be 'Excellent' or 'Outstanding'. We have more and more standardised testing so we can rank pupils and put them in percentiles. We have league tables, where everyone wants to be at the top, even though we know this is impossible. We have politicians telling us, parents and children, we want you all to be better than average, and if you are not it is the school's fault. Even though this is another statistical impossibility. Not content with national league tables, we now have international ones, and every politician wants their system to be at the top. The media is full of how schools, and systems, are 'failing' because they are falling down the tables, or are not at the top, whilst being full of praise for questionable systems that sit at the top of them. And all the while the message we are sending to learners is that if you are not the best, we are not interested, or you're failing. How long before more schools, for some are already there, start ranking pupils and putting these on display, so everyone can see the 'stars' and 'the rest'?


Such a culture is not going to inspire learners to be persistent, to persevere, to collaborate, to be resilient and to keep striving to be the best they possibly can. Such a culture is unlikely to promote growth mindsets in learners and their teachers. Such a culture will encourage cheating and gaming of the system, because the stakes for those involved have become so so high. Such a culture will be telling learners 'you are not just good enough' or that they are 'failing'. Such a culture will promote the power of the individual at the expense of others, 'dog eat dog'., with parents fighting to make sure their child or children has as much advantage over other as possible.


There is no doubt we should all be committed to improving what we do. The motivation for this should be intrinsic and a disposition in everything we do. When we have our focus on gradings, league tables, funding, kudos and reputation, we lose sight of the individuals we are supposed to be supporting and helping to grow. We have the wrong 'drivers' for change and to therefore assess success. Good luck and well done to anyone who sits at the top of any performance list, but lets not lose sight of the millions that will sit below that pinnacle. As any sportsperson will tell you luck and opportunity play a great part in any success, and perhaps we should strive to reduce the impact of these in our schools and education systems, in order to give everyone the chance to thrive, rather than just the few.

All that glitters is not gold⤴

from @ School Leadership - A Scottish Perspective



As an educator, my aim is to help all the learners in the schools I lead to discover their talents and achieve their potential. I recognise them all as individuals and aim for them to retain their individuality as they grow and develop. One of my schools has 'Go For Gold!' as a school motto, put in place by a previous headteacher and pupils. I have never used this too much, as I have always had concerns about some of the messages it sends out. But this year, we took this as the theme for all our assemblies, and have shaped these around the qualities and dispositions we all need to be the very best we can be. So we have talked about collaboration, perseverance, persistence, resilience, and pupils have shared successes and achievements they have had both in school and outside. Some of these have involved pupils in winning medals and trophies, but many more have been about personal achievements that are more intrinsically valued than extrinsically recognised.


However, I still feel the messages we are trying to give are often deflected by those of the culture and society in which our learners exist. It still seems to me that our politicians, media, sports organisations, culture and many parents, are still obsessed by winners, at the expense of everyone trying to achieve their own personal best. Don't get me wrong, I am not anti sport, or excellence in sport (or anywhere else for that matter). I have been involved in sport all my life, both as a competitor and as a coach, and I really appreciate and understand the talent, dedication and sheer hard work it takes to get to the top of any sport or activity. But, for me, sport and achievement have always been about more than just the headline grabbing elite performers. It has to be about the grassroots, the millions of participants who take part because of their love of the activity, and the coaches and others who help them have those opportunities, and help to develop their understanding of how they can support their own wellbeing throughout life.


To many governments sport, and the winning of gold medals, is about national pride and prestige. We can trace this back in the modern era to Germany in the 1930s, then Russia, China, East Germany, and all the western governments that thought the same but were perhaps not so explicit in the strategies they employed. This led to State-sponsored doping programmes and ruthless approaches to the treatment and abuse of athletes and coaches, many of which we are still seeing across many sports today. The 'win at all costs' mentality which has embroiled athletes, coaches and sports and has led to one scandal after another. Amongst all this the Olympic Games has become a bloated and tainted version of what it once was, riven by by drugs, cash and political egos. And yet we still talk about 'legacy', especially when countries seek to justify the vast amounts needed to host them. But, what is the 'legacy'? It is supposed to be a sporting infra-structure and culture that remains and is detectable years after the event in the country and society that sacrificed so much, and paid so much, to be the host. We only need to look at what has happened in Rio, and in London and the UK, following their Games, to see what happens to these dreams of 'legacy'.


However, there is a subliminal 'legacy' to events like this, and it is; that if you don't have a medal, preferably gold, you have failed. That's the harsh message we are giving to young people and to the sports they love being part of, not to mention those who have worked so hard to get to such events.




Sport is awash with money from the lottery and elsewhere, but after each major games there is a reappraisal of funding distribution. If you have not made your target, as an individual or a sport, you will face having your funding cut or removed altogether. The message is, 'we are only interested in winners'. The fact that a sport like badminton, for instance, is one of the most popular participatory sports in the UK, counts for nothing, and funding is gone. The ruthless way that some sports governing bodies treat their athletes sends out very similar messages. Cycling, swimming, athletics and others have been embroiled in accusations of bullying and treating their athletes in very harsh ways, as they have come under more and more pressure to deliver results i.e medals. The same sports have also been caught up in doping controversies and, to me, it seems this is a direct result of the pressure for ever improving results to maintain funding, and the amounts of money that are available at the top end of so many sports.


All of this re-enforces the message that young people get that winning is the 'be all' of sports participation. You might want to be the best you can, but if you are not at the top and capable of winning medals, we certainly don't value your efforts the same. Is this culture much different to the ills of the German, Soviet and East German systems of the past? In terms of the messages being sent out, implicitly and explicitly, I don't think there is a lot of difference. We still get politicians and media basking in the light of Olympic and World Championship successes achieved by other, but which they see themselves as having facilitated. What about the rest, the majority?


Should I be saying to our learners, 'we are only interested if you are the best'? Of course not, but isn't that what society, culture, media, advertisements, are saying to them all the time. In the light of this bombardment messages about winning, and being the best, it is amazing that so many young people still want to be active participants in sport, though it might go some way to explain the huge drop-off experienced by many as they enter their teenage years. Look at the messages given from programmes like 'X Factor', 'The Voice', 'Britain's Got Talent' and so on, some of which ridicule and humiliate entrants before the one 'winner' is identified and the producers move on.


My further worry is that we are in danger of importing the same culture into education, with the same disastrous results. So we have inspections where 'Good' or 'Very Good' are not enough. Now we have to be 'Excellent' or 'Outstanding'. We have more and more standardised testing so we can rank pupils and put them in percentiles. We have league tables, where everyone wants to be at the top, even though we know this is impossible. We have politicians telling us, parents and children, we want you all to be better than average, and if you are not it is the school's fault. Even though this is another statistical impossibility. Not content with national league tables, we now have international ones, and every politician wants their system to be at the top. The media is full of how schools, and systems, are 'failing' because they are falling down the tables, or are not at the top, whilst being full of praise for questionable systems that sit at the top of them. And all the while the message we are sending to learners is that if you are not the best, we are not interested, or you're failing. How long before more schools, for some are already there, start ranking pupils and putting these on display, so everyone can see the 'stars' and 'the rest'?


Such a culture is not going to inspire learners to be persistent, to persevere, to collaborate, to be resilient and to keep striving to be the best they possibly can. Such a culture is unlikely to promote growth mindsets in learners and their teachers. Such a culture will encourage cheating and gaming of the system, because the stakes for those involved have become so so high. Such a culture will be telling learners 'you are not just good enough' or that they are 'failing'. Such a culture will promote the power of the individual at the expense of others, 'dog eat dog'., with parents fighting to make sure their child or children has as much advantage over other as possible.


There is no doubt we should all be committed to improving what we do. The motivation for this should be intrinsic and a disposition in everything we do. When we have our focus on gradings, league tables, funding, kudos and reputation, we lose sight of the individuals we are supposed to be supporting and helping to grow. We have the wrong 'drivers' for change and to therefore assess success. Good luck and well done to anyone who sits at the top of any performance list, but lets not lose sight of the millions that will sit below that pinnacle. As any sportsperson will tell you luck and opportunity play a great part in any success, and perhaps we should strive to reduce the impact of these in our schools and education systems, in order to give everyone the chance to thrive, rather than just the few.

Becoming semi-detached⤴

from @ School Leadership - A Scottish Perspective

Since I made the decision to retire from my Headteacher role before Christmas, I have found myself in a really strange position, both professionally and personally. I have become semi-detached from both my professional persona, and my personal one.

Since my imminent departure  became common knowledge, and I began to get my head round this change, I have found myself in a number of  almost surreal situations, where I am still thinking and acting as a headteacher, but at the same time I have been thinking of my future, as well as the next incumbent in my role. Sometimes this has made decision making easier, and sometimes decisions have become more difficult to make.

Decisions about future activities, that are to happen after the Easter break, have been a little easier. Some I have been able to ignore, delay or leave to the next person in post to consider. Trying to second guess what any new school leader may want to do, is difficult, and probably  undesirable. I still have to lead the two schools, but I also need to leave enough 'space' for the new headteacher to put their own mark on the role. The first part of that is quite easy, because I have still had to deal with all the daily issues that occur, and which I have dealt with throughout my career as a school leader. Such issues are a constant, as are the expectations of staff, parents and pupils. Even with these though, a bit of my mind  has also been distracted by the unfolding change ahead. There have been lots of times when I have been thinking 'well that's the last one of those, ever!' There have also been lots of times when staff, parents and even pupils have pointed out to me much the same. 'Well that's your last coffee-morning, parents evening, set of reports, headteacher meeting,' and so on. Such comments have been producing very mixed emotions, as I know I am going to miss many such activities in the future.

Of course, there is much I am not going to miss about being a headteacher. Mainly, these are to do with bureaucracy, accountability, having to prove everything you do, micromanagement, lack of trust, being a political football, and so on. The things I will miss are the people, the colleagues, the pupils, the parents, the communities and others who have bought into the vision of what we were about and supported me in delivering this. I will miss the events that happen on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis, that bring the schools together and remind us of why we do what we do.


It is the people and the relationships that I will miss the most. Undoubtedly, some of these relationships are strong enough to endure. Certainly ones with staff and colleagues will continue, though may become a little more distant in nature, and less frequent. I am sure some of the relationships with pupils will last too, as I still meet former pupils who want to talk about times at school, having me as a teacher, different incidents and events. Indeed, one of the things I have noticed about contacts with former pupils, its the ones who caused you the most headaches and issues that are the ones who always want to speak to you and spend time reminiscing. Funny that.


However, it is my current mindset and situation that is the subject of this post. As I said at the start, I am really starting to feel detached, both in my mind and in my role. This is a strange place to be for  a headteacher still in post. I think it is probably a common experience for people in any job or career, once they have identified a leaving date. There is no doubt there is much I am looking forward to about retirement, and letting go of all the 'stuff' you are carrying in your head about your work will definitely be a highlight. I am also looking forward to the different opportunities presented by my new 'freedom' for action and thought. Just think, having your day totally shaped by yourself and the actions and thinking you wish, and not having them shaped by your role and demands and expectations of an employer? I am trying not to gloat, too much, and I am sure there will be challenges presented by retirement and the reshaping of my working and leisure patterns. I am hoping to be doing a lot more writing, I do have a book to finish, and to still be engaging with educators and leaders through conferences, the work of SCEL and other opportunities as they present themselves.


My aim at the moment is to complete my final two weeks, hopefully leaving enough in place to support whoever follows me. I am leaving whilst I still love my job, so I want it to end well next week. There are one or two events organised, including a night out with current and former staff and colleagues, which I have been promised is going to be 'a riot'. Not literally I hope! I am sure it will be fun and emotional, just like a lot of my career. The plan is to head for some sunshine for a short while, then return to really get stuck into that book. By then, I will be fully detached, physically, but I have a feeling I will still only be semi-detached emotionally.

Becoming semi-detached⤴

from @ School Leadership - A Scottish Perspective

Since I made the decision to retire from my Headteacher role before Christmas, I have found myself in a really strange position, both professionally and personally. I have become semi-detached from both my professional persona, and my personal one.

Since my imminent departure  became common knowledge, and I began to get my head round this change, I have found myself in a number of  almost surreal situations, where I am still thinking and acting as a headteacher, but at the same time I have been thinking of my future, as well as the next incumbent in my role. Sometimes this has made decision making easier, and sometimes decisions have become more difficult to make.

Decisions about future activities, that are to happen after the Easter break, have been a little easier. Some I have been able to ignore, delay or leave to the next person in post to consider. Trying to second guess what any new school leader may want to do, is difficult, and probably  undesirable. I still have to lead the two schools, but I also need to leave enough 'space' for the new headteacher to put their own mark on the role. The first part of that is quite easy, because I have still had to deal with all the daily issues that occur, and which I have dealt with throughout my career as a school leader. Such issues are a constant, as are the expectations of staff, parents and pupils. Even with these though, a bit of my mind  has also been distracted by the unfolding change ahead. There have been lots of times when I have been thinking 'well that's the last one of those, ever!' There have also been lots of times when staff, parents and even pupils have pointed out to me much the same. 'Well that's your last coffee-morning, parents evening, set of reports, headteacher meeting,' and so on. Such comments have been producing very mixed emotions, as I know I am going to miss many such activities in the future.

Of course, there is much I am not going to miss about being a headteacher. Mainly, these are to do with bureaucracy, accountability, having to prove everything you do, micromanagement, lack of trust, being a political football, and so on. The things I will miss are the people, the colleagues, the pupils, the parents, the communities and others who have bought into the vision of what we were about and supported me in delivering this. I will miss the events that happen on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis, that bring the schools together and remind us of why we do what we do.


It is the people and the relationships that I will miss the most. Undoubtedly, some of these relationships are strong enough to endure. Certainly ones with staff and colleagues will continue, though may become a little more distant in nature, and less frequent. I am sure some of the relationships with pupils will last too, as I still meet former pupils who want to talk about times at school, having me as a teacher, different incidents and events. Indeed, one of the things I have noticed about contacts with former pupils, its the ones who caused you the most headaches and issues that are the ones who always want to speak to you and spend time reminiscing. Funny that.


However, it is my current mindset and situation that is the subject of this post. As I said at the start, I am really starting to feel detached, both in my mind and in my role. This is a strange place to be for  a headteacher still in post. I think it is probably a common experience for people in any job or career, once they have identified a leaving date. There is no doubt there is much I am looking forward to about retirement, and letting go of all the 'stuff' you are carrying in your head about your work will definitely be a highlight. I am also looking forward to the different opportunities presented by my new 'freedom' for action and thought. Just think, having your day totally shaped by yourself and the actions and thinking you wish, and not having them shaped by your role and demands and expectations of an employer? I am trying not to gloat, too much, and I am sure there will be challenges presented by retirement and the reshaping of my working and leisure patterns. I am hoping to be doing a lot more writing, I do have a book to finish, and to still be engaging with educators and leaders through conferences, the work of SCEL and other opportunities as they present themselves.


My aim at the moment is to complete my final two weeks, hopefully leaving enough in place to support whoever follows me. I am leaving whilst I still love my job, so I want it to end well next week. There are one or two events organised, including a night out with current and former staff and colleagues, which I have been promised is going to be 'a riot'. Not literally I hope! I am sure it will be fun and emotional, just like a lot of my career. The plan is to head for some sunshine for a short while, then return to really get stuck into that book. By then, I will be fully detached, physically, but I have a feeling I will still only be semi-detached emotionally.

Conducting a little survey⤴

from @ Reflections of a Trainee Teacher

Ever since reading Hallam et al. (2009) ‘Trainee primary-school teachers’ perceptions of their effectiveness in teaching music’, I have been really interested in how confident primary teachers feel about teaching the subject. I … Continue reading

First Time at Phonics⤴

from @ The Pedagogy Princess

Phonics at Moulsford has become part of the curriculum from pre-prep up to Year 5 over the past couple of years. For those of you reading this who are unsure of what phonics are, they are the first strategy that children should be taught to help them learn to read by using words that are […]

Clever(ish) Lands⤴

from @ Just Trying to be Better Than Yesterday

(The original text of my article in TES Scotland 17th March 2017)

There are some striking moments in Lucy Crehan’s ‘Cleverlands’. The author spent time in five of the world’s most successful school systems – in terms of PISA results anyway – looking for patterns and clues. It is a fascinating read and, regardless of your opinions of PISA, should appeal to those with an interest in curricular change. What struck me most, however, was that amongst those systems, there were characteristics which we in Scotland hold dear.

Indeed, there are moments which raised a smile, considering the transformation we are attempting: performance standards mainly used in the classroom, an outcomes-based approach to assessment, attempts to create an increasingly more research-aware profession. All the more frustrating that we seem to be struggling to implement our flagship Curriculum for Excellence.

The obligatory stop in Finland reminds us of the good stuff going on there but also highlights the reasons why teachers, and education in general,  are so much more respected over there. Finland is a country of only five million people: they were determined to utilise the talent of all citizens. They couldn’t afford anyone being left behind so developed an educational system to support that. Scotland should listen.

Finnish teachers have complete autonomy and decide to teach using strategies underpinned by research. The research they conduct together allows them to collaboratively reach those decisions. And here’s the thing: despite having the freedom to choose what and how they teach in their own classrooms, they all teach in very similar ways because they have come to understand the most effective ways to teach. All kids in Finland experience similar high quality classroom experiences as a result.

So, while we can never replicate the systems we most admire, there are undoubtedly models which provide us with ideas and aspirations. We are currently trying to shoehorn an exciting new curriculum into a set of structures unable or unwilling to accept it. We seem unwilling to waver from the same rigid timetabling in secondary school which allows any leeway or freedom to innovate. We seem unwilling to take research seriously.

‘Cleverlands’ reminds us that we have the ability to change education systems if we really want to. But if we are to truly implement a creative curriculum which wants us to work in cross-curricular ways then we need to change the structures to allow us to do that. Otherwise dump the idea. If we are to truly develop a research-savvy teaching profession then provide us with the time and resources to do that. Otherwise dump the idea.

Great ideas which are poorly supported create the conditions for guaranteed failure. If we don’t have time then we don’t have time to waste. Let’s stop wasting it.

 


Requirements for online exam system⤴

from @ Sharing and learning

Some time back we started looking for an online exam system for some of our computer science exams. Part of the process was to list a set of “acceptance criteria,” i.e. conditions that any system we looked at had to meet. One of my aims in writing these was to  avoid chasing after some mythical ‘perfect’ system, and focus on finding one that would meet our needs. Although the headings below differ, as a system for high stakes assessment the overarching requirements were security, reliability, scalability, which are reflected below.

Having these criteria were useful in reaching a consensus decision when there was no ‘perfect’ system.

Security:

  • Only authorised staff (+ external examiners) to have access before exam time.
  • Only authorised staff and students to have access during exams.
  • Only authorised staff (+ external examiners) to have access to results.
  • Authorised staff and external examiners  to have only the level of access they need, no more.
  • Software must be kept up-to-date and patched in a timely fashion
  • Must track and report all access attempts
  • Must not rely on security by obscurity.
  • Secure access must not depend on location.

Audit:

  • Provide suitable access to internal checkers and external examiners.
  • Logging of changes to questions and exams would  be desirable.
  • It must be possible to set a point after which exams cannot be changed (e.g. once they are passed by checkers)
  • Must be able to check marking (either exam setter or other individual), i.e. provide clear reports on how each question was answered by each candidate.
  • Must be possible to adjust marking/remark if an error is found after the exam (e.g. if a mistake was made in setting the correct option for mcq, or if question was found to be ambiguous or too hard)

Pedagogy:

  • Must should be possible to reproduce content of previous CS electronic exams in similar or better format [this one turned out not to be  important]
  • Must be able to decide how many points to assign to each question
  • Desirable to have provision for alternate answers or insignificant difference in answers (e.g.  y=a*b, y=b*a)
  • Desirable to reproduce style of standard HW CS exam papers, i.e. four potentially multipart questions, with student able to choose which 3 to answer
  • Desirable to be possible to provide access to past papers on formative basis
  • Desirable to support formative assessment with feedback to students
  • Must be able to remove access to past papers if necessary.
  • Students should be able to practice with same (or very similar) system prior to exam
  • Desirable to be able to open up access to a controlled list of websites and tools (c.f. open book exams)
  • Should be able to use mathematical symbols in questions and answers, including student entered text answers.

Operational

  • Desirable to have programmatic transfer of staff information to assessment system (i.e. to know who has what role for each exam)
  • Must be able to transfer student information from student information system to assessment system (who sits which exam and at which campus).
  • Desirable to be able to transfer study requirements from student information system to assessment system (e.g. who gets extra time in exams)
  • Programmatic transfer student results from assessment system to student record systems or VLE (one is required)
  • Desirable to support import/export of tests via QTI.
  • Integration with VLE for access to past papers, mock exams, formative assessment in general (e.g. IMS LTI)
  • Hardware & software requirements for test taking must be compatible with PCs we have (at all campuses and distance learning partners).
  • Set up requirements for labs in which assessments are taken must be within capabilities of available technical staff at relevant centre (at all campuses and distance learning partners).
  • Lab infrastructure* and servers must be able to operate under load of full class logging in simultaneously (* at all campuses and distance learning partners)
  • Must have adequate paper back up at all stages, at all locations
  • Must be provision for study support exam provision (e.g. extra time for some students)
  • Need to know whether there is secure API access to responses.
  • API documentation must be open and response formats open and flexible.
  • Require support helpline / forum / community.
  • Timing of release of encryption key

Other

  • Costs. Clarify how many students would be involved, what this would cost.

 

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Musical Madness at Moulsford⤴

from @ The Pedagogy Princess

With over 75% of boys at Moulsford learning at least one musical instrument, 2 choirs (involving over 120 boys) and an orchestra it is needless to say that Moulsford Preparatory School is a fantastic place to go if you’re interested in music! Today was a fantastic (although slightly mad) day at the school as it […]