Thursday, February 24, 2011

I just saved 753819752 hours of labor

Writing report cards is a bitch without a computer.

Grading itself is an extremely laborious task, but transforming exam results to individual report card is even worse.  Due to its immense work, it was completely neglected back in 2009.  In other words, the parents did not get their children's report cards.

Having participated in this week-long exercise, I knew even some knowledge of the computer will help.  I was given the task to fill out report cards from last year, so I put some daydreaming into action.  If you are wondering now in the middle of the school term, it is because the Form II students' national examination results were not posted until early 2011. 

The task would have been easier on Java or Matlab, but I don't know Java, and I didn't want to install 2GB of Matlab just for this purpose, so I turned to the more pedestrian Excel.  From here on it's a bit technical, so you should read on only if you are teaching at a secondary school in Tanzania, suffering from similar forms of inefficiency, or bored.

So this is the report card for my school.  As you see the "zoezi" is the average of weekly tests and the mid-term exams, and the "jaribio" is the final exam. Then they are added, and averaged.  "Maoni" means comments, ranging from very bad to very good.  The sections with 1-11 on the right are character assessments, which is where students are arbitrarily judged on their cleanliness, morality, and ability to answer dumb questions.  They're also ranked within the class, the rest below are comments from the teacher, what the students owes the school, and other stuff like that.


This is the "zoezi" section.  I got the results from the Academic Office, and inputted all the data points manually.

This is the similar "jaribio" section, also manuallly inputted data.

 This is the bs character assessment, also manually inputted.

With the information on the previous three, and some excel functions, most of the imformation will be automatically filled in after writing in the name of the student.  There are some parts of this section that needs some manual inputting as well, but they're quite minor.

I want to share this with as many people as possible, so if you're interested I'll email you the file.

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