A scalable exam practice platform is the student’s gateway to better exam results
In advance of an expected surge in users, SchoolOnline had a tight deadline in which to create a scalable system that could help students across the UK prepare for their exams. Aimed at KS2 and GCSE students, this past paper library needed to be built from scratch on a flexible framework stable enough to host over 1 million users. With Drupal as our framework, we were able to deliver:
- A searchable database of exam questions for students, parents and teachers
- Unique mock exam paper creation, allowing users to save questions to playlists and export as a printable PDF
- Teacher user management and reporting tools
- Child-friendly user experience, designed with KS2 and KS3 users in mind
A huge database of searchable exam questions
Users could search a huge database of past exam questions to help them prepare for their real exams. To make content super relevant to individual users’ needs, they could be searched for by curriculum level, subject and/or topic, making the content easily accessible to users of all ages.
A unique question browsing experience
Each question consisted of three tabs; the question with a blank answer box, the answer and workings, and a teacher-led video to guide students through getting full marks for the question.
Usability and quick-loading times are critical to keeping learners subscribed to the pay-monthly platform. To keep learners engaged, we developed an interface allowing users to search for questions, work out their answers, watch supporting learning content, and then find another question, all without ever leaving the main screen.
Teacher feedback and deep-dives into literature are essential for English exams. By incorporating instructional design principles we created a new set of course creation tools for exam skills and English comprehension. Students would begin by watching a teacher lead video before being given a piece of text and a set of questions. This progress was being fed back to teachers and parents so they could monitor their progress and give them the feedback they’d miss out on due to school closures.
Personalised mock exam paper downloads
We wanted students and teachers to be able to create their own bank of questions to create bespoke mock papers. These would be downloaded and printed out, either for students to complete at home or in school with mock exams.
Students, parents or teachers could save multiple questions to a playlist (just like saving songs to your favourite Spotify playlist). The “save and print” function generated mock exam papers from the list of questions, allowing teachers to create unique exam papers for use in mock tests and homework assignments.
This was also exceptionally useful for individual students who needed extra support with specific types of questions, as mock exam papers could even be tailored to individual students and classes based on their current weaknesses.
Account management for teachers (without students requiring an email address)
We wanted to make the platform as easy to use as possible so it could be easily adopted by teachers and implemented by schools.
This started with allowing teachers to upload student data via a CSV file and manually add them to cohorts (or classes).
With a CSV, teachers could add names, curriculum level and content access rights to a cohort or class. From there, the system would auto-create the student accounts and generate each student’s unique password to be passed on by school IT departments, all without students requiring an email address.
Effective management of students
In addition, SchoolOnline wanted to help teachers track user progress and achievement so they can see the value of SchoolOnline and identify students that needed extra support. In order to do this, we created a set of unique reporting tools, which could show data for a whole class or be filtered down to individual students.