Sunday, 21 August 2011

Subject Selection

We have been doing online subject choice selections for three years now, using an inhouse designed subject selection web application.

The idea around this was to get rid of the time it took to do the data entry as well as getting better data from the students and also to remove the half day of students running around getting sign off from teachers in charge. Also we wanted the ability for parents to have some input into what there child was choosing.

Luckily our SMS provider helped us out in the early stages of developed on how to do the import from a CSV file into KAMAR, this solved the major issue of data entry and we can now close off the web application and in 10 minutes have all the subject numbers given to the principal to start making his decisions about classes.

The process
Students are given the curriculum guides, to take home and have the conversations with their parents.
Form teachers also have chats with the students in their class about what they are looking at taking next year.
They then can access the subject selection website at home, school, on smartphone and choose what subjects they wish to take the following year. They can do this as many times as they want to, the web application is designed to show what they selected the last time. It also states that there choices are not final, and that subject requirements, course sizes and other factors may exist that they course may not run. the students are given a choice of some reserve subjects in case some subjects do not run.
This is done over three weeks.
Students that don't choose there selections are followed up by the whanau house leaders, or the Senior Leadership Team.  

On the close off day, the data is imported into empty lines in the Student Management System,

The students are then given a time to talk to a mentor about what they have selected, and whether the selections they have made match up with there possible career, that they have previously had with the careers adviser. If there are any issue, they are changed in the Student Management System straight away by the mentor.

This has reduced the beginning of the year changes quite significantly, where we are running full timetables with no more changes after two weeks of school starting.

We chose to do the year 10, 11, 12 students first as a trial of the system, it worked so well, that when the junior subject choices were to happen we did online subject selection for year 9 as well. out of the 1200 students, only 100 students did not complete their selection, this statistic was better than when we were doing the paper based system.

We also had conversations in the school about pathways for students, we started to move away from year levels courses say 11ENG, 12ENG, 13ENG to a more level based course ENG1, ENG2, ENG3, this enabled some of the stigma around students repeating or doing a level below to be removed. The web application was designed to take this into account, where a year 13 student could do level 1, level 2 or level 3 courses, and a year 12 student could do level 2, or level 1 courses. Allowance was made to students that were operating at a level above, some year 12 students were allowed to take level 3 courses, these changes were made during the mentor meeting.

The web application also locked certain courses in for students, A year 11 student had to take, English, Maths, PE/Health/Financial Literacy and had three other options available for students.
The year 12 student had to take English
The year 13 student has to have Independent Learning(aka Study)

The web application also had in it a section on a student leaving school, or possibly not coming back so help and guidance was able to be offered.

Why post about this: there are a number of schools which are looking at doing subject selection online, they have trailed it with one class? they are still doing it by paper, which must cause errors somewhere through the process. This is how showing how we have done it, and now as I move schools how the development of this system is carrying on to my new school.

No comments: