13 September 2011

Sprint: Creating an exam drill system in 2 weeks

In 45 days the first paper for the national senior certificate exam will be written by grade 12 learners across South Africa. That gives me 2 weeks to create a web-based system that will allow learners to practice their exam skills so that they can actually use the system for the last month.

There are, of course, larger goals and I'll write more about these later. In short, this is a really good opportunity to get a bunch of grade 12 learners to provide feedback on an automated assessment and progress tracking system that we can roll out on a larger scale in future.

  • Templated questions
    • process past papers
    • develop templating language (Python + LaTeX/AsciiMath/MathML + AsciiSvg)
    • build concept map from FHSST TOC and link questions to concepts
  • UI: web-based, using Python + Pyramid + MathJax + AsciiSvg
  • Back-end:
    • Templated question database + API, eventually morphing into the FullMarks API
    • User account management, user history tracking. The user history will be vital in future, for finding correlations between user performance on various concepts and for suggesting revision material based on a user's performance.
  • Community feedback
    • The purpose of the pilot is to build a better system for the following school year.
    • Q&A forum where I can address their issues, and they can help one another. Use
    • Notify users of new features or questions on the system.
    • Explicitly solicit post-exam user feedback on how to improve the system.
  • Hosting (Siyavula, Rackspace?), branding, domain. Maybe the last two are not so important for now.

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