The best way to ensure your classes are as balanced as possible is to:
- Reduce Separations and Pairings to essential only.
- Increase the number of Preferences collected.
1. Reducing Separations and Pairings
Separations/Pairings are highly prioritised when sorting classes.
As a result, Separations/Pairings have a very large impact on all student placements.
If a large number of Separations/Pairings are entered in the Surveys, it is unlikely they will all be met and balanced classes will be created.
We recommend Separation/Pairings are only used for the most essential situations.
When introducing Class Creator to your staff please clarify that Separations/Pairings are only to be used for the most essential situations. They are not because, “Student X and Student Y chat in class”.
When teachers complete the surveys a warning appears when they have entered 5 or more Separations/Pairings per class.
Some teachers ignore this warning and enter lots of separations (60+ for a class of 25!)
To view how many Separation/Pairings have been entered by you teachers please go to the Surveys -> Survey Summary page.
Classes with 5+ Separation/Pairings will have a red circle with an exclamation mark next to them.
Their Separation/Pairings will also appear red (image below).
Click on the Separation/Pairings number to see more information.
Are all the Separation/Pairings essential?
If not, you can delete them or ask the teacher responsible to do some “Separations/Pairings pruning”.
If all Separations/Pairings are essential, then it is likely the classes may become imbalanced in other areas.
2. Increasing Preferences
Many, but not all, schools use Preferences to allow students/parents/teachers the opportunity to create positive social groupings for students.
As Class Creator’s algorithm aims to provide students with 1+ of their friendship preferences they have a large impact on student placements.
If a school elects to use Preferences, it is highly recommended that teachers enter the maximum number preferences available.
If each student has three Preferences available in the surveys, it is highly recommended that they are all completed (3/3).
If some Preferences are left blank (1/3 or 2/3) it becomes very difficult to place the student with one of their Preferences.
Not entering maximum Preferences has a “knock-on” effect to all areas (class size, gender balance, behaviour spread, etc.).
To view how many Preferences have been entered for each student/class please visit the Surveys -> Survey Summary page.
Each class will be displayed and the column on the far right will show how many Preferences have been completed out of possible Preferences (eg 89/90, 100/120, 0/80).
If teachers have not completed the maximum number of Preferences it will make it more unlikely that students will be placed with a Preference and balanced classes will be created.
- Schools do not have to use Preferences. They can be turned off via the Surveys -> Configure Surveys.
- Preferences are weighted towards 1st Preferences and work their way down.
- Students may be placed with their lower Preferences, it all depends on the data.
- 3 Preferences Per Student = Less flexible, but closer friends/Preferences (Less parent complaints?)
- 5 Preferences Per Student = More flexible, but possible “distant” friends/Preferences (More parent complaints?)