Daddy Clanger (imc) wrote,
Daddy Clanger

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Techy things


Some time ago I was nominated as the person in charge of the computational process which turns raw marks from finals papers into a single numeric "result" for each paper. Yes, these are real exam papers taken by real finalists in this year's compsci exams which started about 2.5 weeks ago and have probably now pretty much finished, and the result is called a University Standardised Mark (USM) and has fixed pass/fail borderlines, so that you can take the average USM over all papers and then declare that all candidates with ceil(avUSM)>=70 have got a First, for example. (Of course, I didn't accept this nomination without promise of some remuneration at the end of it all, though the details haven't really been sorted out.)

I was asked to consider this in October, given a few more details in December, actually read the (scant) documentation in January, and started it in February. March was interrupted by the need to make a video quiz for the QL party, while much of April was taken up with writing material for a presentation at the Rexx Symposium in the first week of May, and the next couple of weeks in May were taken up with tidying it up and packaging it for the proceedings.

Meanwhile, on April 28 I finally met with the chairman of examiners (AWR), who told me what he actually wanted the system to do - as opposed to what it said in the specification which he wrote at the end of January. Towards the end of May I started taking the laptop to bed with me, which wasn't that much help to J (mind you, she often likes reading in bed).

On June 4 AWR pronounced himself satisfied that I had implemented what he had asked, and I gave him a copy of the system to play with. This should in theory equip him to produce all the necessary figures for the examiners' meeting; unfortunately at this point the system doesn't yet cover all the post-mortem details such as reports to colleges. But that is in hand. I think. However, not having had any feedback from AWR whatsoever to date, I remain slightly paranoid that he'll find something I needed to do and haven't...

Meanwhile, on 6 June the chairman of Moderations (LO) came to see me about using the same system for that exam (which I believe is being taken by candidates this week). It's OK - I had forewarning that this would happen, so most of the changes were built in (and I haven't got round to doing the rest yet). But since the system was more or less invented by AWR I'm still not sure that LO knows exactly what he wants out of it. And he asked me if I would be here when the Moderations examiners' meetings take place on 15-16 July, which, er, is really up to smallclanger!

Data about which papers the candidates have entered trickled in during the first week in June, which was fortunate because I needed to print the sheets on which all the candidiates' marks are written.

[end of catch-up]

For no particular reason I don't seem to have done any work on the system since 12 June. But the examiners' meetings for Finals are at the beginning of next week. (It would really complicate matters if smallclanger were to arrive before then!)

Today it turned out that the Mathematics department, who have to mark some of our candidiates' papers, are using completely different formulae to calculate their USMs, and what they want to do is send us the parameters of the formulae so that we can generate the USMs ourselves (whereas what we might have expected is a simple list of candidates with their USMs). The parameters will be delivered on Monday afternoon, one week today. Ideally I will have to add their formula to our system, so that means more work for little old me.

(And, complicatedly, some of the papers for which the Maths department will be calculating USMs are papers that our department has assessed and designated the raw marks for. So we have to send them the marks, and they will send us the formulae back. I just hope they have arranged this transfer with whoever is responsible for keeping the scores, because I have been told very little about how all this will happen.)

Oh well... it will all be over in a week or three.


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