Daraja Academy teachers are intense! I discovered more about the local grading system today. Last week, I presented on TeacherKit, a free app on the iPad, that I really like for use in the classroom. You can input grades and pictures, track behavior and attendance, and export as an Excel file. Very cool. My initial thought was that an iPad could be designated for each group of students and passed from one teacher to the next to keep grades in one, centralized place, with period back-ups. Good idea if there are simple weighted or unweighted grades.
What I learned today is that students at Daraja take 11 classes in their first two years: English, Kiswahili, Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Geography, History, CRE, Agriculture, and Business. In their third and fourth years, the students are required to take English, Kiswahili, Mathematics, Chemistry, Bio or Physics, Geography or History, CRE or Agriculture, and Business. 8 Classes for those students.
For the first two years, the students complete three papers for each subject, these paper scores are averaged and correspond to a letter grade, which then corresponds to a particularly point value. Let’s say you have a 72 average, that corresponds to a B+, which translates to 10 points. All of the points are added together for the Total Marks Score; this corresponds to a particular letter grade. The mean score or average of all of the scores for the classes is the final score taken into account. In the third and fourth years, this becomes even more complicated because the students choose between CRE and Agriculture. The scores between the chosen course and Business are compared and then the grade that is averaged in is the higher of the grades. Daraja really should have a grading program developed specifically for it, but, in the short term, I developed an Excel sheet that could handle all of those specifics.
But, from now on, the teachers don’t have to do these calculations by hand. They can simply input all of the data, even working on them at the same time, and let the Excel sheet work for them (powered by Google Sheets).
This afternoon I am working on updating the software for these iPads. I had a small meeting after lunch with the Geography teacher, Nicholas, on Tiny Scan, Notability, and the geopositioning website I found the other day. It seems like they will work for him. He’s going to use Adobe Acrobat to type over the PDFs to make guided notes for his students. AWESOME!