The future of assessments

I spent today at a cpd session from the SQA at Dingwall Academy. This gave me my first opportunity to see another school in the highlands and give my throat a day off (there’s quite a bad throat bug going around here).

The course was split into two sections the first on E-assessment (SOLAR) and the second was on E-portfolios and skills for life. Now both of these look like very good systems but from a computing standpoint I was more impressed with the SOLAR system (couldn’t resist).

The tutorial we had today gave me a chance to look at the assessment for the Intermediate 2 Internet Safety topic which is the first course to only be tested using SOLAR. The interface was very clear and it gives the teacher control over the test and best of all… No Printing Required!

Pupils are given a unique code which they need to enter and it will give them access to the but the test will not be accessible until the teacher/tutor enters their pin to start the assessment.

The drawbacks to the program – to access the system computers must have the latest flash installed and it’s not known if and how it would work on the MACs, I’ll need to test that in the morning. The other slight flaw was that it doesn’t automatically link to the SQA to generate qualifications, these still need to be done manually by centres.

I’d like to see this being implemented for NABs in the future, this would work well for all computing courses.

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Software Development

It’s coursework time of year again, I sat in last night, watched the football and took a look at the new intermediate 2 software development coursework.

My advanced higher pupil has told me that I’m much more focused on the documentation than the pupils were previously used to so I really took my time on that part. It made creating the final program so much easier

I started by creating the structure diagram and used an online tool called Gliffy to complete this. This is a great tool I’ve been using for a while now and I’ve found it to be a very powerful piece of kit.

Now I should say that the last time I really undertook programming properly was in 2006 during my probation year but I didn’t go much above the credit level. What I’ve done with it this year is to get it out of the way as quickly as possible with the S3 pupils, the S4 have finished it now as well.

Now that I’m happy with the credit/int2 level it’s time to turn my attention to the higher materials. I’m aiming to complete the higher coursework next week.

This is the one topic I’ve not been involved with at higher level and at the moment I am relying on the textbook and the LTS Scotland notes to get me through (Not the most dynamic lessons) but I would like to hear how other computing teachers deliver this topic to mixed level classes.