Tips & Tricks: The first method is important from the ICT exam point of view.

  1. Describe School Registration Systems

The traditional way to record the registration and attendance of a student is to complete daily registers.  This is very time consuming since it is required a 10-minute session at the beginning and end of each day.  It is also prone to error if a student’s name is missed at some point during the registration process.  However, it is now possible to automate this process using computers and related software.  Two methods are given below:

Method 1

Issue each student with an ID card.  This contains a magnetic stripe on the rear of the card.  The student name and the unique student ID is written on the back of the card.  The student has to sign the card.  The magnetic stripe contains the name of the school, the name of the student, the student’s date of birth and unique ID (registration) assigned to the student.

Each morning the student has to swipe the ID card through a magnetic card reader on arriving at the school.  The data read would identify the student and the time and date the student entered the school’s premises.  This data would now be stored in a database.  On leaving the school, the ID card has to swiped again.  This would now record the leaving time and date in the database.  This would give a very comprehensive record of when the student attended the school and the number of hours the student attended.  It would also be more secure method in the event of, say, a fire.  The school would now be able to account for every student currently showing as being present on the school premises.  Using the paper based system, a student could register then just go home – with this ID card system, the student’s attendance would be known at all times.

There are further subtleties that could be used such as (1) use of a PIN to stop another student swiping in with the wrong card (2) use of GPS tracking so that the exact whereabouts of a student would be known.  This would require the addition of a chip on the ID card so that the tracking system could identify them.  At the end of a term (or school year), the database could be interrogated and it would give an accurate attendance record for the student.

Method 2

A second method could make use of biometrics.  Each student would have their fingerprints taken.  Their personal details like date of birth would be stored in a database.  When a student enters the school premises, he/she would be asked to put his/her hand on a scanner which would read his/her fingerprints.  Since each student would have unique fingerprints, this system would be very secure.

The date and time of entering or leaving the school would also be accurately recorded in the database.

Advantages

  • It is much easier to ‘clone’ (i.e., to make copies) of ID cards than it would be copy fingerprints (not impossible but very difficult).
  • Fingerprints are unique, so it would be impossible for a student to sign in pretending to be someone else (with magnetic cards, a student could give his card to a friend and ask him/her to sign in for him/her) – this gives more accurate data and improved security.
  • ID cards could be easily lost – fingerprints are ‘part of you’ so can’t be lost.
  • ID cards could be affected by magnetic fields (e.g., by being placed close to a mobile phone) which would stop them from working.

Disadvantages

  • It would take a long time to collect the initial fingerprints for every student in the school.
  • There are ‘invasion of privacy’ issues and some parents may object to having the fingerprints of their children stored in a database.
  • If a student cuts a finger, the fingerprint may not be identified by the system (which would prevent entry to the school).
  • The equipment needed to take and read fingerprints is more expensive than magnetic stripes reading equipment.

  2.  Describe use of Computer systems to evaluate student performance

Teachers can evaluate the performance of students using a spreadsheet.   The teacher enters the marks of students in a spreadsheet for a number of subjects. Using a spreadsheet has the following advantages:

  • graphs and charts can be produced to show how the students compare to each other
  • graphs and charts can also be used to show student progress over a given time period, use of ‘rolling averages’ or trend lines can be used to monitor changes in performance.
  • it is also possible to use ‘conditional formatting’ to show which students are performing badly (e.g. by highlighting the results in red) or well (e.g., by highlighting results in green)
  • using functions, such as sorting or averages, allows the teacher to quickly see which students are doing particularly well and how they compare against the class average
  • it also allows the teacher to easily see how they are performing against each other students in the same subjects
  • it is also very easy to import data into a report, e.g., summarising a student’s performance over the academic year.

  3. Explain the use of Computers and softwares for preparing Exam timetables, subject timetables and teacher substitution

Timetables are often required for the following:

  • exams scheduling (both internal and external)
  • subject scheduling
  • producing cover/substitution plans for teachers who are absent.

For example, at the start of a new academic year, a student may be given their own personal timetable covering their subject allocation.

Timetable for: Tom Alter 112 678 234 Summer term 2016
09:00-10:30 10:45-12:15 12:30-13:30 13:30-15:00 15:15-16:45
Monday History Science lunch Maths Geograhy
Tuesday Maths Geography lunch History English
Wednesday Geography Maths lunch Science Science
Thursday Science History lunch Geography Sport time
Friday Geography History lunch Maths Art/Music

Many factors have to be taken into account when producing timetables for each student:

  • availability of rooms for each subject
  • availability of teachers
  • number of hours for each subject
  • making sure double lessons appear for certain practical subjects but ensuring this doesn’t happen with others
  • subject clashes (e.g. a student wishing to do German from a group containing History, German and English finds this clashes with their Art/Music lessons and so they have to take Geography instead of German).

Timetables are also produced so that students know when to sit an exam.  This allows them to schedule their work correctly.

The main advantages of using software to create timetables is that it is quicker and less prone to errors than the older paper based systems.  It is also easier to try ‘what if’ scenarios to ensure the most efficient use of time.

Likewise, timetables can be produced to cover classes when teachers are absent.  This is often done using the main timetable software since each teacher is allocated a class or non-contact time for each of the teaching periods.  In the above example, a teacher would have either a class or a ‘free period’ for each 1.5 hour session.  The main subject speciality of each teacher is also stored so that a subject specialist can be used to cover for absent teachers.

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