The custom built LMS for past papers, exam prep and more

Instant access to past papers for students, teachers and parents

A host of learning materials and tools all in one place

In advance of an expected surge in users, SchoolExams 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:

  • Simple design for students and teachers alike
  • Past paper library
  • Easy to navigate UI built for children of all ages
  • Next-to-no load times
  • Custom exam paper builder
  • Custom user management and reporting tools
  • Courses and quizzes
  • Saved question lists

Past papers and questions

Creating a repository of the last 5 years’ of past papers, SchoolExams uploaded individual exam questions that we ensured could be searched for by curriculum level, subject and/or topic, making the content easily accessible to users of all ages.

Each question consisted of three tabs; the question with a blank answer box, the answer and workings, and a teacher-lead video guiding students through getting full marks to the question.

Usability and quick-loading times are critical to keeping learners subscribed to the pay-monthly platform. So 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. *PHEW* That’s quite a lot!

Creating unique mock exam papers

SchoolExams wanted students and teachers to be able to create their own bank of questions by saving multiple questions to a list (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.

User management and reporting

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.

In addition, SchoolExams wanted to help teachers track user progress and achievement so they can see the value of SchoolExams 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.

Courses

Our team designed the courses to mimic guided learning pathways used by teachers in the classroom. The pathways progressively challenge students day-by-day with more difficult questions to help them prep for their exams, starting from scratch. This was especially important given the disruption to student attendance due to Covid.

English quizzes

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.