Certificate of Merit

Questions and Support regarding the Certificate of Merit.
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Carl Hibbard
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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by Carl Hibbard » Thu Nov 19, 2009 11:28 am

John Upham wrote:
Carl Hibbard wrote: Is there any chance of getting a CFS update from any of the ECF officials present on here please?
This thread is for CoM : is there not one dedicated to matters beyond my control i.e. CSfS?

I felt very ashamed that Abbey School had asked many times about their promised sets. However, what we did last night with CoM was very good for the ECF so I did repair the damage slightly.
I wasn't blaming you but there MUST be somebody who knows what is going on with Chess for Schools beyond the last minute photo fiasco showing some sort of lorry delivery?

I would be sacked if I managed a project like that :oops:
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Matthew Turner
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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by Matthew Turner » Thu Nov 19, 2009 11:30 am

Wow!

"The teacher in charge logged in and registered sixteen twelve year old girls in around ten minutes via the CoM site.

The students logged-in in the next couple of minutes

They were each given four free CoM credits to get them going.

They took a total of 133 Level One tests between them."

That mean they got 64 free tests, but did 133. That mean that they must have paid £345. You will be able to buy them good sets after all. Well done!

John Upham
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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by John Upham » Thu Nov 19, 2009 12:09 pm

Matthew,

All 133 tests were taken at no fee.

I loaded each students account with four CoM credits at the start of the session but encouraged them to ask for more in the style of Oliver Twist.

I was very happy to allow them to retake the test (with different questions) until they ran out of energy or passed.

They paid nothing. I am inclined to go and buy them sets myself.

I will plead with the Office on Tuesday to let me have a box of sets for this school. They will be getting their CoM certificates in school assembly (as has Yateley Manor School) in the next couple of weeks and I hope to be present to take photographs for the CoM site.

Once I am completely satisfied that all is place and that the back-end admin is working seamlessly, I will announce the live URL and the ritual nit-picking can start and I will go on holiday to Gibraltar!

The children are loving it which is what is driving me on.
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Matt Harrison
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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by Matt Harrison » Thu Nov 19, 2009 1:52 pm

I take on board Stewart's comments about the need for the scheme to be profitable, but I still think you'll struggle to get anyone (school or parent) to pay £5 per entry. £5 per exam with multiple attempts allowed until people pass would be much more attractive.

The feedback from the schools sounds very good indeed. However I suspect that the group enthusiasm for the online test is what works so well - and this would be hard to replicate once charges are in place.

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Ben Purton
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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by Ben Purton » Thu Nov 19, 2009 2:02 pm

Is this the abbey school in reading? Give over if so at afford sets.
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Matthew Turner
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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by Matthew Turner » Thu Nov 19, 2009 2:17 pm

So each student took on average slightly more than 8 tests which would have cost £40. I assume that Abbey School, Reading is a reasonably prestigeous School, so they are probably pretty good at chess (relative to less privileged Schools). Still 50% of students failed to get a pass. I cannot see many Schools wanting to pay £40 per student to have half of them 'fail'.
Anyway, I just suppose we will just have to wait and see.

John Upham
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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by John Upham » Thu Nov 19, 2009 2:19 pm

Matt Harrison wrote:but I still think you'll struggle to get anyone (school or parent) to pay £5 per entry. £5 per exam with multiple attempts allowed until people pass would be much more attractive.
The development plan for CoM includes this :

As well as Levels One, Two and Three (which require payment of £5 per test) there will be practise and fun levels.

The practise level will contain 100 Q&A sets which reflect material in Levels One, Two and Three and costs zero per test. A student can take as many practise tests as he or she wishes : no certs will be issued even if they score 20/20 ten times. No practise questions will be used for the paid for tests.

The school teacher-in-charge will be informed of the outcome from the practise level tests and the software will announce a recommendation that the student is ready to take a real test.

The school / student can then decide to invest a whole £5 on a real test.

The Trivia / Fun level is also free but is a question set edited by myself and James Pratt (rather than Ken Coates) and are about chess and of a non-technical nature. The questions are not suited to children but more for chess nerds!

Here is an example :

Question three : Which well-known English player once appeared on the DIY programme, "Home Front"?

Maxim Devereaux
Connagh-Joseph de Mooi
David Robert Norwood
Sheila A Jackson
Colin S Crouch
Come back to this question at the end

or

Question five : What is the main hobby of Anatoly Karpov?

Chess
Philately
Campanology
Numismatics
Matryoshka
Come back to this question at the end


or

Question ten : In which film did Shelley Winters play chess with James Mason?

The Seventh Seal
The Abominable Dr. Phibes
From Russia with Love
Lolita
An American Werewolf in London
Come back to this question at the end


Question eighteen : Which US GM once appeared on the Groucho Marx Show?

Robert James Fischer
Isaac Kashdan
Larry Melvyn Evans
Arnold Sheldon Denker
Pal Charles Benko
Come back to this question at the end

or

Question twelve : Which English GM is descended from the infamous Judge Jefferies?

Joseph Gerard Gallagher
Harold James Plaskett
Julian Michael Hodgson
Nicholas Pert
John Denis Martin Nunn
Come back to this question at the end

to give you some idea of my trivia question set.

J.
Last edited by John Upham on Thu Nov 19, 2009 2:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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John Upham
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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by John Upham » Thu Nov 19, 2009 2:25 pm

Matthew Turner wrote: Still 50% of students failed to get a pass.
None of the students had worked through the CoM DVD so it is not surprising in the least. I'd have been more shocked has they all passed.

I'm not a member of the new politically correct who want to see everyone get A*s in their exams and pat everyone on the back telling them how wonderful they are.

Exams should and must discriminate : I confess to being old fashioned in that respect.

I'd be mortified if I was the best in the class but all the others passed as well due to the modern trends to dumb down achievement.

This is very similar to giving even the weakest junior a rating of 150+...
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Matthew Turner
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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by Matthew Turner » Thu Nov 19, 2009 2:28 pm

Wouldn't most teachers just use the practice tests and produce certificates themselves? I'm not sure that I would able to guide my students through the questions you have posed, because I am afraid that I don't know the answer to any of them.
In fact, I thought Karpov's hobby was snooker, but this is one of the possibilities so I'll have to look up the wiki-truth.

Richard James
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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by Richard James » Thu Nov 19, 2009 2:55 pm

John

I note that so far the CoM has been tested using 12-year-old children in independent schools.

Is it specifically for children of that age or would it also be suitable for much younger beginners? In many schools children start chess at 7 or younger.

Are you planning to test it in a wide variety of schools, both state sector and independent, using children of different ages?

Richard

John Upham
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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by John Upham » Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:48 pm

Richard James wrote:John

I note that so far the CoM has been tested using 12-year-old children in independent schools.

Is it specifically for children of that age or would it also be suitable for much younger beginners? In many schools children start chess at 7 or younger.

Are you planning to test it in a wide variety of schools, both state sector and independent, using children of different ages?

Richard
Richard,
Thank-you for your sensible questions.

It has been a coincidence that we have tested with children of similar ages from the independent sector. These schools have been easy to work with since the CoM team teaches in these schools already. The next UAT trial will be in a school in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire and then maybe with Neil Cooper at Wilsons School. If these trials go perfectly then I hope we can throw the application open to the masses.

I would like to trial with younger children : I have enquired of Abbey Junior School and my UAT chess class age range spanned 7 - 11 years (and not 12 as I had guessed).

I hope we can trial in at least one state school and my preference would be Yateley School as I helped to start their chess club in 1974.

The worst part of the trial was being asked "Do you know when we will get our free sets?" I replied that I would see what the hold-up was and get back to them : all very embarrassing!
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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by John Upham » Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:52 pm

Ben Purton wrote:Is this the abbey school in reading? Give over if so at afford sets.
This is Abbey Junior School in Reading, Berkshire. http://www.theabbey.co.uk/Abbey-School/

I don't understand your second sentence Ben. :?: I've tried re-ordering the words without any success.
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Ben Purton
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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by Ben Purton » Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:15 pm

I take it andy coaches them? hence the involvement. I live 2 minutes away.
I love sleep, I need 8 hours a day and about 10 at night - Bill Hicks
I would die happy if I beat Wood Green in the Eastman Cup final - Richmond LL captain.
Hating the Yankees since 2002. Hating the Jets since 2001.

andrew martin

Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by andrew martin » Fri Nov 20, 2009 12:27 am

Actually it's Ken Coates and Khadija Elflow ( Libyan Womens Olympiad player studying for Masters at Reading University) who do the coaching there- very good!

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Fri Nov 20, 2009 12:37 pm

"The questions are not suited to children but more for chess nerds!"

Certainly not suited to children when the answer's "Lolita"...

But they are interesting questions, and the CoM sounds a great idea.
"Kevin was the arbiter and was very patient. " Nick Grey

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