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Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by KazIT, Apr 14, 2010.

  1. Hi Everyone,
    How are your students getting along with this unit? My lot are struggling no matter how much I try!!
    I took home their work so far to have a look over and am concerned by the lack submitted - their final deadline for me is after the holidays so am hoping that they are working their socks off over the Easter break!
    Just wondering if it's just my lot that have really lacked self motivation with anything since the January module!
    Kaz x
  2. Mine are due to hand in tomorrow up to the evaluation...wonder how many will?
    I've been reviewing as they went along. I have to say they are trying (very trying at times!) and the work is OK, but lacking that bit of "oomph" and detail to get in the top mark bands.

    I feel a bit guilty cos I got them to do shed loads of testing, and when I looked at the moderators report it wasn't needed! (I haven't told them that!)

    I just hope I've been getting them to do the right sort of stuff and marking it correctly.

    I've had difficulty interpreting some of the things on the mark scheme as they seem geared towards a traditional database project rather than a website.
  3. try the Welsh board - much easier!
  4. i didn't think marks were as good with the welsh board this year. people have been telling me their specifications are more specific about what needs to be taught but their marking schemes were less clear this year. i guess august is more important to judge on though than january.. but if you ignore what AQA's specification and meetings pretend their course is set up to teach (i.e. web pages, graphics, video, sound) and stick to spreadsheets in the first year and databases in the second year you can get very good results.
    my colleague teaches info4 this year, i'll ask him to take a look at this thread when school starts again next week. he is spending a lot of time before school and after school doing one on one sessions to help with coursework. it's okay for this year with only 1 class of 10 students in year 13, but next year we'll have 2 classes of 17 each, and they'll all have been walked through easy OCR national units. i don't think they'll have any experience of databases except the 2 weeks of AO6 in unit 1. not looking forward to that challenge.
  5. They don't have to do databases though. That's one good thing about the AQA over WJEC is that there is alot more flexibility over the project you can do. We are doing websites with shops/forums and a bit of simple php and it has been much more interesting. I am a bit worried the systems aren't "complex" enough but I think they are loads better than the databases our classes produced last year and they have learned more useful stuff.

    I've just looked at the WJEC and it seems like there is lots more practical stuff and more marking in year 1. My AS classes have not been good completing the INFO1 sample work so I'm put off them doing more of that stuff.
  6. sorry about the break - forgot I didn't ned to do it with this browser!
  7. yeah, i agree that it is very good they have the option not to do databases, but as you say, with anything else the worry is the system is 'complex' enough.
    last year our INFO1 sample work was a video editing project, and an online feedback form to go with it where we could get some erroneous and extreme testing done - but this year we went back to spreadsheets as the it's much simpler to get a good variety of tests done, and there are clear inputs, processes and outputs. i'd love to do more video/sound/website work but with our current cohort it'd be too much of a gamble.
    i'm pleased to hear that more people are leaving databases and spreadsheets though, and hope it pays off for them in august so maybe i can be a bit braver with next years projects.
    Maybe we can share a few exemplar projects on here at some point
  8. BrianUK

    BrianUK New commenter

    I took mine home this holiday to check over and my experience so far is similar to yours Kaz. Some of them are missing important details whilst others are missing entire sections! It's been so bad that I have had to get in touch with them to sort it out. In one case I even phoned a parent. There are several grey areas in the mark scheme too which doesn't help. One is system and process testing as this is a very different approach to testing than the standard GCSE component or functional testing. In particular what evidence is acceptable that a system test has been correctly tested? What is a system test exactly? In my industry experience it covers a multitude of black box scenarios - each of which reflects a business process requirement which is tested until it either broke or it worked. But even then we had a LOT of functional testing within the plan. I.e. data type testing, presence checks, "did it add a record", etc. So what evidence am I looking for here? And how do the pupils demonstrate the success of failure of this type of testing on paper? I am finding this hard to assess. How are you lot doing this?
  9. Teaching the Welsh material is much easier. Having taught AQA for many years I got fed up with vague markings schemes and open ended problems. The Welsh board is very prescriptive I know however the students' know exactly where they are because there is no ambiguity in the marking scheme. Last year I got over 80% A and Bs in the coursework which I never ever achieved with AQA - with a very positive feedback back from the moderator.
    In my experience of teaching ICT, when you teach any other practical topic apart from spreadsheets and databases you end up getting yourself in a mess. For example with web projects/ DTP most students despite you clearly stating what is required will produce a fairly simple and mudane solution which generally doesn't score very high marks at all, and to be honest it is a very difficult an area to teach properly. Again with the Welsh board it specifies exactly waht the student has to produce so they either achieve the mark or they don't - no room for discussion.
    Also, why wouldn't you want to teach Databases on an ICT course? They are the most widely used application in IT, and can produce exremetly complex solutiona. Even with web design etc databases are always used as the back-end engine. I know Web design/ flash etc is fun but at the end of the day will the students' produce anythign which is of any use?
    There was a comment somewhere in this thread about the number of students in their class. Just to point out I have had A level class sizes of between 17-22 for the last few years. That is generally the norm in a sixth form college so count yourself lucky!!

  10. I've just had a depressing few hours marking - the last one has finished me off as he hasn't done half the things I told him to and when I looked at his site it is little better than a year 7 site and has obvious bugs in.

    I have had some decent work though - the websites may not be that complex but the writeups have been ok (with lots of pointers from me)

    Testing is a difficult section - instincts are to do loads of functional testing, which I did get them to do, but the emphasis is on "process" testing, which is difficult on a website. I got a bit of advice from AQA about what is a "process" in this context and they are all a bit waffly. eg. the process of updating a page with up to date images, is classed as a process if there was a requirement to keep the page up to date.

    So in my case I have advised them to get the users to test the processes as they mainly relate to things they have to do and the way they update the website. So the testing would probably be in the form of a questionnaire.

    I've also told them to get the user to comment on all the evaluation criteria that they defined.

    This could be all wrong for all I know..I'm just trying my best but the marking scheme is open to some interpretation and how do I know what a "complex system" is? I'm just assuming all ours are. I don't know how you apply some of these terms like "processes" and "complex systems" if you are doing some of the suggested projects like a disaster recovery plan.

    Is anyone else doing a website for info4? Would be good to have someone to talk to about it.
  11. Although I hate to say it am glad I am not the only one! I had a major go at them yesterday and they all looked sheepish, but as I expected little had been done over the Easter Break so they have got until May 5th so I can mark it and send it off in time!!! Can't believe the lack of motivation they have considering that one of them isn't resitting their INFO3 exam to try and boost marks and they need an A in ICT overall - currently a C!!
    I too couldn't see how the mark scheme could apply to some of the other suggested project ideas such as training resources - I had some great ideas such as getting one of them to create training resources for the LSAs but couldn't see how some of it would be met such as current system etc wouldn't be very detailed.
    I too don't like the testing processes bit and the 'complex system' I have been in talks with a friend at another school and some of their projects (also databases) don't seem to have used more advanced features but they have written loads.
    I can't stand DFDs and neither can they but have got to try and get them to do one atleast context/level one arghhhh
    I am hoping that AQA will have a look at their markscheme and maybe add a bit more detail to what they expect to see and hopefully we will have some exemplar work for the next lot!!! Still can't see why they couldn't have created a rough exemplar for some of the newer style projects
    I just hope that I mark it ok and don't mark too harshly etc To be honest will be glad when it's over for the moment!!
  12. BrianUK

    BrianUK New commenter

    I'm quite glad I'm not the only one too. It can get very lonely and frustrating at times trying to interpret the markscheme. I'm just glad I didn't let them do anything too adventurous first time round. We need to get our marks submitted by 28th April and they are still working on the final touches as I write this. There is some very useful exemplar work that has appeared in the Teacher's resource section but because I don't visit the AQA website often enough it may have been there for some time for all I know. I wish there was an email notification system when they add important new updates like this.
  13. Yes I happened to notice that stuff on the teacher resource bank today as well. I was actually looking for sample info3 essays that the examiners report said would be on there...but they weren't.
    It is sort of useful...but could have been better. The evaluation of performance is the easiest to mark - I would have liked to see how they tackle the evaluation against evaluation criteria and/or requirements.

    I am SO fed up of marking this and giving advice on how to improve. I'm not even sure if things I am insisting on are actually required. I could be making a fuss about things not required. At least if I go to the standardisation meeting next year I'll have a whole better idea on what to ask.
  14. BrianUK

    BrianUK New commenter

    Martha (or anyone else) if you are attending the standardisation meeting the PLEASE feedback on here your findings. I am too far away and the school will not allow me to travel again to the UK having been on a INFO3 course last year.
    I've had enough of scrabbling in the dark over the interpretation of some of these marking criteria. The mark scheme is quite ambiguous in places especially as you point out on the evaluation criteria/user requirements/quantitive/qualitive etc. It's wet finger in the air time for me as I have had no feedback on what to look for here.
    Actually I too am sick to the back teeth of marking and advising on these projects.
  15. That exemplar stuff has only appeared on the website this week, I pretty sure it wasn't there on Monday. Isn't it a bit late?
  16. Can I just scream?


    I have spent the last 2 nights dreaming about evaluation criteria, client requirements and justifications of this that and the other....

    I think I need to set up an INFO4 support group.
  17. BrianUK

    BrianUK New commenter

  18. Is it just my classes that when asked to write a justification or evaluation can come up with pages of waffle that don't actually say anything useful/relevant that you can award a mark for? Please tell me I'm not alone!

    I'm marking the evaluations and struggling to mark the evaluation against requirements and criteria - think we may have done our criteria not brilliantly as they are more or less the same as the requirements, so it is difficult to evaluate against both.

    what kind of things have others done for evaluation criteria? I think I'm going to have to improve this bit next year.
  19. Can I just join in with the ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH bit!
    At my last quick marking I had a couple of C/D between 50% and 60% (but no user guide yet etc) and one that only had Background and Investigation and some Analysis and Deliverables grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr I've got to write their estimated grades down to send to AQA today arghhhh
    My lots DFD's are **** well a level 1 and context diagram.
    Their final deadline for me is next Wednesday so I can mark and then send off (although haven't yet been given the center assessed mark forms only estimated grades forms)

    As far as evaluation stuff, I told my lot to have a table with a column for their client requirements and another column for related evaluation criteria and then another column saying how they did it. Thought that would count for something then and depending how detailed they went would depend on the 1 or 2 mark!
  20. We did our evaluation using a table like this too. It was so much easier to structure.
    This is my first year teaching A level ICT so it really has been in at the deep end. I have 2 part time posts and at one I am sharing with another experienced teacher so at least there is someone to ask.
    Regarding complex vs simple - he told me that a simple system would be a one-off solution and a complex one would be re-usable over time. Moderators at standardisation last year said they only wanted to see dfd's if they helped to explain the system and only level 0 were needed or at most level 1.
    I think the marking guides help but are too vague in places. The documentation marks in the testing section are unclear - if someone has produced training guides then there isn't really any technical documentation so this puts them at a disadvantage. Even though 2 of our kids have done training manuals my colleague also got them to do a simple database to monitor/track use of the training. This helped us get testing evidence because how do you test a training manual? The rest have all done database solutions and they were easier to mark and easier to find all the required evidence.
    We have 2 on A and 3 on B out of 17 but not as good as I had hoped. Motivation, like for everyone else here, was severely lacking in a lot of them. A few of you seem to have done the INFO3 exam in January - how did you find this? We have left it until June and spread out the coursework intermingled with the theory throughout the year. Would appreciate feedback on this and the pitfalls of doing this.

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