Certificate of Merit

Questions and Support regarding the Certificate of Merit.
John Upham
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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by John Upham » Sat Sep 18, 2010 11:28 am

Matthew Turner wrote:NOTE P CERTIFICATE OF MERIT



So that is less than 130 exams so far. LV don't seem have got good value for their money.
The correct figure (at the beginning of September) for level one is : Level One Taken : 193, passed : 120 which equates to a 62% pass rate.

Figures for levels two and three are building up nicely.

To pass an individual test one requires 14 or more correct from 20 random questions.

John Upham
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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by John Upham » Sat Sep 18, 2010 11:33 am

Sean Hewitt wrote:
The key figure is sales 1 May - 30 September. I hope this figure will be available at council. If it's £1000 plus then things are on track.
Sales of packages alone equate to £1100

Sales of credits alone approach £1000

Sales of booklets, DVDs and books are less but increasing.

Sorry to introduce facts into the discussion and sorry to dissappoint those who want CoM to fail.

Matthew Turner
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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by Matthew Turner » Sat Sep 18, 2010 11:59 am

John,
Indeed there are some encouraging signs there.
However, it would also be useful if you you introduced the fact of how much it had cost. If £10,564 are indeed the entire costs then the scheme is appearing a much more financially sound project. I worry that costs have been squirrelled away deep in the accounts. Is £10,564 on top of the £30,000 in the previous accounts or an 'updating' of this figure?
Everybody would like to see the CoM being successful, but there is a distinct lack of information coming out and there seems to be zero marketing. In these circumstances it is understandable that people are concerned about how it is going.

John Upham
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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by John Upham » Sat Sep 18, 2010 2:33 pm

Matthew Turner wrote:John,
Indeed there are some encouraging signs there.
However, it would also be useful if you you introduced the fact of how much it had cost. If £10,564 are indeed the entire costs then the scheme is appearing a much more financially sound project. I worry that costs have been squirrelled away deep in the accounts. Is £10,564 on top of the £30,000 in the previous accounts or an 'updating' of this figure?
Everybody would like to see the CoM being successful, but there is a distinct lack of information coming out and there seems to be zero marketing. In these circumstances it is understandable that people are concerned about how it is going.
Matthew,

I believe that £10,564 is much closer to the real figure and might even be the real figure : I've not checked.

I do not, for example, know the cost of the copies of SRs opening book. It might be that he provided copies gratis to the project. I am aware that a total of 23 copies have been sold : 22 as the result of the sale of 22 CoM packages and one sale of the book only. I do know the cost of DVDs and am happy that they have been accurately accounted for. I also know my contract payment for the web application developement and also know the cost of Q&A development.

The figure of £30,000 was a complete herring rouge IMHO.

It is important to disconnect CoM costs from the ill-fated CfS.

As far as marketing is concerned I am hopeful that a cunning plan is being developed (by the DoM) for the new term which is already a week old.

I have added the ability to contact all ECF Coaches at a stroke via a web application (whereas the ECF Office does this via comventional email). I am planning to promote CoM to all coaches in the next few days.

All I can say is that all of the children that I have witnessed being exposed by myself, Ken Coates, Andrew Martin to CoM in a classroom situation loved it. They carried out testing until the end of lesson or until they achieved 100%. I found this entirely compelling.

I am organising my own new schools to sign-up to CoM.

John

Sean Hewitt

Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by Sean Hewitt » Sat Sep 18, 2010 6:50 pm

John Upham wrote:
Sean Hewitt wrote:
The key figure is sales 1 May - 30 September. I hope this figure will be available at council. If it's £1000 plus then things are on track.
Sales of packages alone equate to £1100

Sales of credits alone approach £1000

Sales of booklets, DVDs and books are less but increasing.

Sorry to introduce facts into the discussion and sorry to dissappoint those who want CoM to fail.
Great stuff. Sounds on track to me!

John Upham
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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by John Upham » Tue Oct 19, 2010 3:02 pm

I made a suggestion to Stewart R. and Andrew M. about the charging model for CoM and wondered what your feelings would be on this?

Right now, if a student takes a test at level 1, 2 or 3 it will cost them a credit and the credit is used regardless of pass or fail.

My suggestion is that we allow students to use a credit for level x until they pass that level and then the credit is used.

When they then go on to level x + 1 they will need to purchase (or be allocated) a credit to take a new level.

The pass rate is very good but I'm thinking of those who fail at level x and then simple give up trying.

Also, I cannot see schools forking out £6 per child to retake the test.

I need to analyse the results data set a little more carefully but my intuition tells me that this is a good offer to make.

Coding changes will be needed to enforce this of course.

I am able to email the entire database of students who have registered to alert them to this (apart from children for whom we only have a nickname).

Opinion?

Nick Thomas
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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by Nick Thomas » Tue Oct 19, 2010 9:03 pm

I think this contains the seeds of a good idea. I don't like the idea of guaranteeing children a pass by using infinite goes (even a fish could pass that way). My ideal scenario would be 3 tries at least 2 weeks apart for each. Coding may be tricky though...

Matthew Turner
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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by Matthew Turner » Wed Oct 20, 2010 12:37 pm

John,
I think there is a fundamental problem with pricing here. People expect stuff on the Internet to be free. I think the CoM needs to have one of two approaches.

1. It's free and we hope that it will bring people to chess and we can get some revenue by selling accompanying and support material

2. We aim for a premium product that people are happy to pay for

I think both are reasonable approaches, but at the moment we seem to be caught in the middle. We are still charging £6, so that is perhaps £180 for a state primary school class - well that is a lot (particularly at the moment). We have also slightly downgraded the status, by E-mailing certificates. Like Nick, I think the approach you are proposing is better than the existing one, but I think a more fundamental shake-up of the pricing is required.

Jon D'Souza-Eva

Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by Jon D'Souza-Eva » Wed Oct 20, 2010 12:49 pm

E-mailing the certificates does seem a bit cheap. It would be nicer if they were posted (probably not each individual one, you send a batch near the end of each half term). Children feel very proud when they're presented with things during their school assembly.

Regarding retakes - I prefer John's suggestion to Nick's. Who cares if it takes them a dozen or more tries before they pass? Charging for failed attempts is just the sort of thing which will put teachers off buying into this. However you could limit it to one attempt per day.
Last edited by Jon D'Souza-Eva on Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

John Upham
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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by John Upham » Wed Oct 20, 2010 1:52 pm

I did prefer to have the laminated pass certificates sent out and the decision to email them was taken for me.

From an altruistic angle I would prefer CoM to be free but I fear that the ECF wishes to see concrete ROI in terms of a revenue stream. Sales of packages, DVDs etc will probably never return the investment, but Credits and bundles of credits should do.

I did think there think there was considerable pressure from one party to generate revenue from this project and yet we are now being advised to offer it for free?

Behind the scenes I am close to completing the functionality to allow students to analyse their previous tests in detail down to the individual Q&A level.

I am testing on the trial server right now and will announce when it rolled out to live to the forum first for anyone to have a play with.

I will then email shot the entire student database.
Last edited by John Upham on Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Matthew Turner
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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by Matthew Turner » Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:00 pm

John,
You have always claimed that the CoM would be a big revenue earner. I have always questioned this. You only had the idea about offering it for free when I put that forward in the past.

John Upham
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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by John Upham » Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:03 pm

Matthew Turner wrote:John,
You have always claimed that the CoM would be a big revenue earner. I have always questioned this. You only had the idea about offering it for free when I put that forward in the past.
I did make the assumption that it would be marketed effectively and that there would be a budget for marketing it : never assume!

I also hoped ( I never assumed this one) that CfS would be reasonable success. Sending sets to 400 / 10,000 schools was not the proportion I was hoping for!

When I noticed that even LV= did not acknowledge it on their sponsorship site I began to realise I was wrong once again. They still don't : why not?

Motto : be totally cynical all the time, assume the worst and denigrate any else's efforts to make a contribution!

There was also a big commercial opportunity not known to this forum that died a death of a thousand questions earlier this year. :oops:

Alex Holowczak
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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by Alex Holowczak » Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:14 pm

John,

As a way of making money, is there a way of selling advertising space on your website? (For chess-related things, obviously)

Would that be in breach of the LV= sponsorship agreement?

Even if you sold the space very cheaply, something would be better than nothing...

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by Carl Hibbard » Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:17 pm

It's a dead duck and was never going to recover the 10K+ of development costs was it?
Cheers
Carl Hibbard

John Upham
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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by John Upham » Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:17 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:John,

As a way of making money, is there a way of selling advertising space on your website? (For chess-related things, obviously)

Would that be in breach of the LV= sponsorship agreement?

Even if you sold the space very cheaply, something would be better than nothing...
From a technical prespective the answer is Yes, of course.

You would need to ask the same question of the DoM as he is now managing the project.

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