Category Archives: Product

The story of how same marks can lead to two different grades!

Author : Hariharan

It was a sunny day and I felt my car’s AC air gushing at my face. It was in no time, the AC beat the heat but it was temporary. The heat came from a phone call then. The person X of Hive Public School at the other end tells me, “Hari all the overall grade calculation for class 6 is wrong”. I wanted to reassure whether she was telling what I heard, so I told, “Could you please repeat it ma’am?”. “Hari all the overall grade calculation for class 6 is wrong. What we have given in the sheet as aggregation what Report Bee has done doesn’t match at all”. I took deep breath which I don’t do often and claimed, “Your’s is a CBSE school right?”, the answer was ‘Yes’. “We do calculation based on the CCE* guidelines”. And the conversation went on till I agreed to change the grades for deviating students. Now, you would have got it, most of the time we end up abiding customer needs.

Usually the assumption for any CBSE school would comply to CCE guidelines. This was an incident on that assumption which proved costly. The next few passages, I will be explaining the math involved in our calculation and why the deviation happened in the first place. So if you are not really a math person and it bores you, feel free to jump to the last paragraph.

Our mode of calculation (CCE prescribed) :

captureTo your left is the grade calculation image. They say grade is calculated based on the marks scaled up/down to 100, basically percentage. Each grade also has a grade point pinned to it as well. Each subject’s grade for a term is calculated by aggregating the marks procured in the numerator, the total in the denominator and multiplying it by 100. That would give the percentage value for it to be displayed as grade in the report card. In this way individual subjects will have marks and the respective grades. To calculate the overall grade, the individual subject’s grade is the percentage expressed out of total marks in term all subjects inclusive. Below is the image explaining our calculation for the specific student Bee.

image-1

Hive Public School’s mode of calculation (The heart wrecking phone call) :

There is no legitimate image for this to be referred. The only place where the calculation can be found out is as fields shared by the school. Each subject’s mark is grade with percentage as base. Till this point they resemble our mode of calculation. After this, they do a calculation which you might not see in any CBSE school doing. For the grade procured, the corresponding grade point is referred and this is done for all the subjects. The grade points are summed up and divided by the number of subjects included part of their academics. This gives an average grade point out of 10. The overall grade referred is based on the grade point’s range. Below is the image explaining Hive Public School’s calculation for specific student Bee.

image-2

The teachers of the school had gone for a workshop three years back and had brought this take away of overall grade calculation. Had the overall grade calculation methodology been mentioned in the CCE guidelines, this problem wouldn’t have come. So, here we came with a hack. The school identified students with deviating grades and gave it to us. We changed the grades manually through CSS, the tool which is normally used to feast your eyes with vividness. Because of this, there was 956 lines of code at the back end. Also, we ended up editing the grades of 20% of students in a class on an average.

*CCE – Continuous and comprehensive evaluation is a process of assessment, mandated by the Right to Education Act, of India. Student’s marks will be replaced by grades which will be evaluated through a series of curricular and extra-curricular evaluations along with academics. The aim is to decrease the workload on the student by means of continuous evaluation by taking number of small tests throughout the year in place of single test at the end of the academic program. Only Grades are awarded to students based on work experience skills, dexterity, innovation, steadiness, teamwork, public speaking, behavior, etc. to evaluate and present an overall measure of the student’s ability.

Why every school is important to us!

June – The month where we from Report Bee buzz the most! With the fresh start to a new academic year, we have our happiness team welcoming the existing schools back, wishing them all the very best for the year; Creation team introducing new features, enhancing the existing features to make sure our users, the teachers enjoy the product even more! And Growth trying to connect with more number of schools and sell our product. After all, June is the peak time of sales!

As a member of the growth team, I am well aware of the entire process we go through to implement Report Bee. To me, it is the toughest job. Our product speaks for itself, so you might wonder what is there to convince. Let me take you through the entire process.

When a new school even remotely expresses their interest in Report Bee, we grab that opportunity. We call the concerned person at school and try and schedule a demo with the Principal.

A Principal, is the Prime Minister of the school. Starting the day at 8 AM or even earlier at times, they have meetings throughout the day. Principals to me, are super human beings. Try waiting outside their office and in a minute, you will find atleast 5 people who walk in and walk out of their room! So, imagine how difficult it can be for us to just get an appointment to talk about Report Bee.

After all the follow ups, we finally manage to fix an appointment. Even though a time is agreed verbally over phone, it gets postponed, no doubt! Working with over 400 schools we completely understand the life of the principal. I guess that is why we end up having a personal connect with almost every principal we talk to, irrespective of whether Report Bee is implemented or not. By the end of our follow ups, we have our moments together sharing what we eat for lunch!

I could say growth is an energetic team with a never say die attitude, but another reason for all the follow ups we do with every school is the target we aim to achieve by the end of this year. With a humungous pressure on us, every positive moment with a school only gives us hope. So, if you were a principal of a school who has shown interest in Report Bee, you can imagine the follow up phone calls you would get from this team. We use strategies to even call them at specific days and timings. The only thing constant is our smile and the talk we have with the principal.

Finally, after all the follow ups, the principal agrees to give us time for our product demo. The product speaks for itself, so the demos generally end on a high note. The colourful designs, the instant graphical representation, the user friendliness of the software are all the key reasons why a school agrees to implement our product.

But no. The story does not end there. A decision for a school to implement Report Bee not lies only with the principal but at times, also with the higher management. Phew!

After giving a demo, I am generally on a high. But when the principal says that she will get back after consulting with the management – my high drops to low! One drop instantly. Need to wait again.

After countless follow ups again, the school finally sends a confirmation email saying they have agreed to implement Report Bee in their school!

That is the moment we from Growth wait for! All our effort in closing one school to just receiving this email, gives us more energy to march towards our target for this year.

With a huge happy heart, we from Report Bee invite all the new schools to the family. We know your time is precious. Our service will be top notch to ensure your school, a member of our family is always happy and will never have to go through this process of finalizing another product software such as ours!

 Crossroads: For a Stronger Connection with Our Users

Why Crossroads?

Have you ever tried to understand how people perceive you? Do they understand just the way you want them to or do you need to put in more effort to get them to follow you?

Living is an art, a skill, a technique. You need to learn and practice it as you would a game or a musical instrument” – SWAMI PARTHASARTHY

Understanding something is also a technique. When we bring out a product, there is so much thought that goes into it, the design, the look and the feel. There are so many more unknown factors that we need to understand while creating a product that is used by a large and diverse group of people.

Report Bee, currently serves 132 schools, with over 5000 teachers using the software. Today, we can proudly say that on an average we have 600 users logging in daily to use our software. Our software has an array of products created to help teachers maintain their data about students better.  As of today, teachers can use the following features:

  • Records– to input all of students’ performance data
  • Insights– to analyse and compare results at all levels in an instant
  • Registries– to view consolidated results in one sheet
  • Report Cards– to generate personalised insightful reports for each student
  • Attendance– to easily manage daily attendance
  • Health Card– to be proactive about students’ health
  • Waggle, SMS– to communicate efficiently with parents
  • Parent Portal– where parents can view insights of their wards

Report Bee works with the vision to help the teachers record data easily by creating different features. As the days go by, we keep creating more and more features in the belief that they are going to be extremely useful for the teachers. Beliefs can sometimes be divorced from reality, especially with inadequate communication.

So, one day, we stopped and questioned our own assumptions:

  • Are the features really as useful as we deem them to be?
  • Are the teachers using them just the way we imagine or…?
  • Do we need to improve the feature and how?

In essence, we thought it was time to try and understand what the users really wanted in comparison to what we were offering them, and bridge any gaps that existed in effective usage of the software in its entirety.  We were convinced that it was time to see how the existing features were being used before creating new ones. It is one thing to create a feature, but having teachers not using them is the worst that could happen to us!

The Memorable Journey

Forming the Team: With this thought in mind, we formed a team to unearth the truth, calling the project CROSSROADS. The team from Report Bee was assisted by Wankai to conduct this user experience study. Wankai is an innovation-consulting firm that helps organizations and companies strive towards newer possibilities in their arena. They helped Report Bee to structure the entire process and implement the project. Thanks guys! The learning for us has been immense! 🙂 The final core Team of Crossroads included Jack, Jayashree, Karthik, Sharanya (from Report Bee) and Brijesh and Varun (from Wankai).

Crossroads Team all Set for Interviews!
Crossroads Team all Set for Interviews!

 

Visiting Schools for Interviews: The team then started the Crossroads journey. With a process in place, we visited 14 of Report Bee schools and interviewed the key stakeholders –Principals, teachers, students, parents, extended families. For each of the stakeholders, we had a list of exhaustive questions created by the team under Wankai’s guidance. For example, if the respondent was a parent, in all likelihood, he/she would have received the Report Bee report cards generated by the school. So, they were questioned about how well they understood their child’s reports.    Similarly, if the respondent were a teacher or a Principal, questions were based on the usage of the product besides understanding the Report Bee report cards.

An interview in progress with a Principal
An interview in progress with a Principal

 

We also, interviewed other educational stakeholders to understand their perceptions of our product.

All in all, we conducted close to 70 interviews spread over a span of 2 months. Phew! It was a marathon run for the Crossroads Team but travelling is always fun when done in a group! And the Crossroads Team enjoyed it even more as it was heartening to get real feedback on the product. Of course, all our travels included a day of sight-seeing! 🙂

Crossroads Team sight-seeing :)
Crossroads Team Sight-seeing 🙂

Making Sense and Incorporation of the Feedback: When all the interviews were completed, the Team (under Wankai’s assistance and guidance) rigorously and patiently went through all the interviews to make sense of each of the feedback to gather and compile the information. It was nice to see a coherent picture emerge out of this exhaustive process. Further, suggestions and domain expertise were used to improvise the product with further enhancements to reach the need of the educational stakeholders.

Crossroads Team Compiling Feedback and Discussing Findings
Crossroads Team Compiling Feedback and Discussing Findings

Wrap up with Surprises: The Crossroads findings were finally presented to the entire Team at Report Bee in a grand ceremony, marking it a significant day in the journey of Report Bee. What could be more important to us than introspecting our product and aiming to give the best quality to our users? 🙂 The whole Team had a fun day-out to absorb and discuss the findings. Facing reality sometimes can be hard, but when taken in the right way, it can lead to more positive solutions. This is exactly what happened to us at Report Bee.

Fun and Final Presentation to Report Bee Team at a Beach House ;)
Fun and Final Presentation to Report Bee Team at a Beach House 😉

We thank all the schools and teachers for having given us their valuable feedback. Today, thanks to Crossroads, we have become bigger and better in serving our teachers, understanding their needs and continuously learning in process! We will definitely be back for a bigger learning next year!