Thursday, 15 February 2018

Technology Scholarship 3%?

Over the past number of years, I have been looking at the Scholarship numbers and percentage and have been asking myself a question, why does Technology Scholarship seem to be always below the 3% that other scholarship subjects are.

Here is the Technology Scholarship data for the past 7 years.

Scholarship SubjectCohort% Cohort
Awarded Scholarship
(including Outstanding)
(excluding Outstanding)
ScholarshipOutstanding Scholarship
Mark RangeNo. of CandidatesMark RangeNo. of Candidates
If you are wondering why I am pulling this data together it is to start the challenge and fight for the last part of the Digital Technologies curriculum puzzle,

It is since the changes in 2014 when the strands of Technology came into being. Before that, it was just the Generic Technologies standards. Since the strands of Technology came in, including Digital Technologies that is why the number increased from 1500 to now almost 4000 students. 

But have things gotten better with this...
The numbers say it all. From being 3% of the cohort to get Scholarship, we are now getting 1.5 to 1.7%. 

Funnily enough the NZQA scholarship results website states 
"The Technical Overview Group Assessment applies discretion in the setting of cut scores: The 3 percent criterion is applied with discretion of plus or minus 5 students. Cut scores are set such that all students at or above the cut score have demonstrated performance at the Scholarship standard.

*Note: There are reasons why the percentage of the Level 3 cohort achieving Scholarship is significantly higher for Latin than for other subjects:
  • Latin has a very small Level 3 cohort. The large proportion of the cohort awarded Scholarship reflects this.
  • Up to five candidates in addition to 3% of the Level 3 cohort can receive Scholarship in each subject. Because Latin is undertaken by a very small number of candidates and has a very small Level 3 cohort, this discretionary flexibility resulted in a high percentage of the Level 3 cohort receiving awards."

But hang on, do I read correctly, "The 3 percent criterion is applied with the discretion of plus or minus 5 students." 
We have a 1.73% this year, no mention of why Technology has a lower percentage, even going back to previous years results, no mention of why it is lower than 3% criterion.

So I went back to 2016 in the data.
It seems that 173 students entered scholarship, 54 were awarded Scholarship and 10 were awarded Outstanding.

64 students were awarded scholarship. here is hoping my maths is right.
64 / 3898 *100 = 1.64%

Now to get the 3% cut off, 117 students would need to be awarded scholarship. That would mean that out of the 173 students did scholarship 56 would not be awarded. 
So maybe it is because there are not enough numbers entered.

However, I started checking out other areas of scholarship,
going with the same data from 2016
I looked at Photography
Photography had 284 entries in 2016
Ok, so they had an extra 101 entries above what Technology had, but they made 2.96% of the 3% criterion.
How for the past 4 years have we gotten less than 2%. Surely there is something wrong with the current system.

My question is, who sets the Technology Scholarship Assessment Specification, is it NZQA or is it the Ministry of Education. If it hasn't been meeting the requirements for 4 years now, what can be done to support the lifting of achievement for our students?

Is there PLD provided, to be able to support teachers/students to be able to reach the 3% criterion?

Why is there not a mention on the scholarship results webpage why Technology Scholarships do not meet the 3% criterion? Being able to provide a reason? 

Is there a possibility of providing what schools have obtained scholarships in technology for the past 4 years?

Who sets the Technology Scholarship Assessment Specification?

The NZ Scholarship Technology Scholarship Assessment Specification is set annually by NZQA, in consultation with the Panel Leader.

If it hasn’t been meeting the 3% criterion requirement for 4 years now, what can be done to support the lifting of achievement for our students? 

The annual Scholarship Assessment Reports comprehensively describe the characteristics of successful and unsuccessful scholarship submissions. I have attached a copy of the 2016 Assessment Report available on our website. The 2017 Assessment Report will be available for teachers and students at the beginning of term 2. In addition, where possible, we publish annotated exemplars which teachers and students can use.

Is there PLD provided, to be able to support teachers/students to be able to reach the 3% criterion?

NZQA is not resourced to provide PLD to support teachers and students. PLD is generally organised through school clusters and subject associations.

Why is there no mention on the scholarship results webpage why Technology Scholarships do not meet the 3% criterion? It would help being able to provide a reason? 

"The Technical Overview Group Assessment applies discretion in the setting of cut scores: The 3 percent criterion is applied with discretion of plus or minus 5 students. Cut scores are set such that all students at or above the cut score have demonstrated performance at the Scholarship standard."

Candidates entered for New Zealand Scholarship Technology must meet the Scholarship Performance Standard (93601). They are assessed on their ability to demonstrate high-level critical thinking, abstraction and generalisation, and to integrate, synthesise and apply knowledge, skills, understanding and ideas to complex situations. (

Candidates who have met the criteria given below can be considered for Scholarship or Outstanding:

Scholarship Performance Descriptor

The student will demonstrate aspects of high level:
·         analysis and critical thinking
·         integration, synthesis, and application of highly developed knowledge, skills, and understanding to complex situations
·         logical development, precision and clarity of ideas.

Outstanding Performance Descriptor

In addition to the requirements for Scholarship, the student will also demonstrate, in a sustained manner, aspects of:
·         perception and insight
·         sophisticated integration and abstraction
·         independent reflection and extrapolation
·         convincing communication.

Technology Scholarships to date have not met the 3% criterion because less than 3% of  the entries have demonstrated performance at the Scholarship standard i.e candidates have not gained a minimum score of 13 out of a total of 24 marks available (Scholarship) or a minimum of 19 out of the total marks available (Outstanding). 

The decrease in the percentage of candidates who have been awarded Scholarships in Technology since 2013 is consistent with the increase in the cohort numbers.

I have been going through the numbers that NZQA have provided.

While we are a new contender to the Technology Scholarship, I would think after 4 years that there would be better stats to help encourage teachers. 

What I am thinking about at the moment is... This goes to show that the current technology scholarship is not meeting the digital technologies area and that a separate scholarship needs to be created to handle this. 

I am currently writing a response back.

Out of the 104 entries for digital technologies, only 23% of the students were awarded a scholarship. While I have read through all the material that has been provided, is there going to be guidance from the panel on how this could be improved for digital with such a poor percentage awarded. There seems to be way better opportunity for Textiles and Food to be awarded scholarship,

What should the equitable return theoretically be?

Sounds like a good one for my Spiral of Inquiry
Getting to know technology scholarship and what this means for students this year. How can I improve in the way that I teach/feedback/feedforward students towards technology scholarship.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

developing resources

I think this year is one of cool stuff.
The ideas need to be simple enough to develop different ideas.
Today I found out about edCreate, an extension kit for the edison robot.
It has been a day of trying to find a location in New Zealand that has these. as well as

I like the idea of the bag concept, I play on using this with one of my students, the idea is getting them working with the concepts of mechatronics.

The second idea is around developing Designing and Developing Digital Outcomes,

What a great way to get students to develop ideas and concepts with voice technology. Consider the google home and amazon dot that are being released.

Third idea, this is currently being written as an assessment resource. Dealing with advanced programming and using the power of python parsing files.

Monday, 22 January 2018

LearnPath - araako

I have been busy doing some updates to a system that I am developing at school. LearnPath.

Or as the students know it as

Araako is a system to help students develop their understanding of the hub curriculum, their my being, my learning, my community.

How can LearnPath show the following?

Students work through filling in different sections of araako through their profile.

Personality test, this is based on the personality test. This enables the student to put in what their personality type is. A way to remember then strengths. The personality types are one aspect we get students to look at how they learn, how they work with others. The different personality types of listed here.

Short story. In some ways this adds a bit of humour to the area, having an opportunity to write something short provides opportunities for students to be creative.

Profile. Other social networks have it, why shouldn't this? The avatar needs to be changed to the community that they are in.

Habit that they are working on. The Hobsonville Habits allows students to select a habit that they are working towards, or a habit that they show strength in. This can be used in either way.

Goals, both personal and academic excellence.
Though, it could be nice rather than a graduate profile statement, to be a more learner focussed statement.

Academic Excellence
Has developed the generic learning skills and the specific knowledge, skills and understandings that enable learners to excel in their chosen pathway.
Personal Excellence
Has developed the personal values, dispositions and capabilities that enable the learners to lead a happy, healthy and successful life.

Developing understanding through the Hobsonville Habits, allowing students to delve deeper using the habit cards to understand and show strengths and weaknesses.

Personalising the header colour, allows the students to have some form of customising. These are limited to the materialisecss colours, available here

I have half developed a way for students to see what they have covered curriculum wise.
But this needs to have a bit more done to it, to show the learning objectives that have been covered.

Blue - SPINS

Developing a different way to look at the habits, all the habit indicators have been added to the system and it picks 5 at random that students are to develop some thinking around, wether it is for their own goals or around developing and understanding their learning.

Through one of the reflections to offer opportunities to develop SMART goals more, similar to what Amanda has done here

Through this I have been looking at other ways to pull apart goals.

While it provides opportunities for students to show aspects of the habits, one of the main things I design it to do it is to provide a way for students to do reflections.

The reflective nature of what they have learnt is the focus of a number of research papers.

How can we provide opportunities for students to do this within hub. I have talked with students about blogger and other opportunities, however they wanted it behind a wall. Many are not yet at the stage where they feel comfortable posting online. Especially Year 9 and Yer 10 students.

What should go into a reflection?

Saturday, 13 January 2018

digital information - habit tracking

Getting students to track how they are using there Hobsonville Habits within their learning.

Twitter is such an interesting tool to see how people are using digital technologies within their learning. To gather information and inquire into what is happening with that data.

It started with a tweet...

How Might We show this understanding with our collection of data.

Being able to get the students to enter the data. Making a simple easy to use interface. 
Each day students would be able to change the sliders to indicate their use/understanding/development of the habits.
You might ask about why there are two sliders for each, the top one is for students to enter, the bottom one is for the learning coach.

Once the data is entered, how to best show the patterns, at the moment this is available to the coach only, with future development for the students.
It is at the moment being thought about doing this is in slightly different way, being able to turn on and off habits to be able to show patterns over time.

  • Keen for some wellbeing/hauora aspects too... so we can keep an eye on that. Could be cool if as well as a ranking, that somehow/somewhere they justify with evidence so not token judgement?
  • Complete this one. Perhaps a group of Coaches pilots it and iron out bugs and streamline usage ready for term 2 across school launch.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Digital Information

Working between old standards and new thinking.

The old standards required:

Apply digital information management tools to create a digital information outcome requires students to create a digital information outcome that involves manipulating and combining data from more than one application. The specifications for the digital information outcome, software and techniques to be used need to be determined prior to the outcome being made.

When creating digital information outcomes students will use appropriate techniques and data integrity and testing procedures. Students will apply appropriate file management procedures, design elements, and formatting techniques. Students will consider their legal, ethical, and moral responsibilities when developing digital information outcomes.

While the new one focusses strictly on the database.

Last year I spent time researching and developing ideas into what this could look like, and through a discussion I firmly realised that students get lost between the database and the development of the media. There needed to be more of a focus on what a database can do. Not just the simple work, but to develop the ideas of the power of them. Be it mysql, or sqlite.

Getting students to be able to create a database to hold the data is one thing. Getting them to be able to queries on it to be able to develop the answers that could be used someone else is another.

The focus for my students was to use the khan academy site. Intro to SQL,

This provided them real time feedback from the software, suggestion on what to do when they got something wrong. The ability to problem solve, yet to be independent.

I had my doubts when I started it, but even I was impressed at the interaction it provided. It has provided me opportunities to develop my own skills. We didn't stop at the SQL basics. We went through the whole SQL course.

When I think back to what the students were developing and understanding, it was Level 3 NCEA, however these were only Level 2 students. How to show and grasp the information that they had learnt. I think this is where things got difficult. 

However with the new standards, the Level One standard 91879 is around

Develop a digital outcome to manage data involves: 
● using appropriate tools and techniques to structure, organise, query and present data for a purpose and end user 
● applying appropriate data integrity and testing procedures 
● describing relevant implications.

Develop an informed digital outcome to manage data involves: 
● using information from testing procedures to improve the quality and functionality of the outcome 
● structuring, organising and querying the data logically 
● addressing relevant implications

Develop a refined digital outcome to manage data involves:
• iterative improvement throughout the development and testing process 
• presenting the data effectively for the purpose and to meet end-user requirements.

I know one of the ideas around one of the assessments is to be able to bring in a large amount of data, that will need need to be structured or in my case manipulated, to organise that data in a way that it can be used to provide a solution, provide queries against the data.

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Developing Identity-hub activity

I have been thinking about ideas on how to change the beginning of the year for my hub. Each year has been similar and with having the same students in hub they get bored of the activities.

So, I need to develop a hub Identity. But to do that my students need to show themselves. This has normally been done through words, images, showing themselves on a piece of paper.

However, I am interested in the idea of getting students to communicate an idea through a visual means. The medium, felt.

I think this comes from something I saw when the school started. Plus I think the idea of a craft based activity gets students sharing, showing others how to do various aspects, looking at others work and building on it and problem solving.

I have seen some of these around the school during the past couple of years, and no have one sitting on my desk to save it from being thrown out.

The concept at the beginning of this two yearly cycle is Identity.

Developing the concept of this, Spotlight has felt for sale around $1.50 per size. Some of our school community colours are shown below.

The guidance sheet to go with the materials for the students.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

kite photography

Earlier this year a student posted up a photo of their kite aerial photography. This was something that was explored and developed on through the come fly with me project when they were trying to send up a weather balloon with sensors attached.

Through kickstarter this year a balloon mapping kit was made available through the kickstarter also came a kite mapping kit as well. Since I am more likely to be not wandering around with a bottle of helium, the kite mapping kit is more suited.

I finally had time to try this out at our local park. I was amazed at how well it flew as well as how much string I still had on the reel.

I plan on doing a few more of these as time allows.

How might this be used within a project. Getting students to update the changes to our local orienteering map so we can have a map for our school.