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My friend’s class teacher named Dave has to take a register every day and has to keep marks that students have achieved on a regular basis. Dave finds it very hard to keep all his papers organised, as they tend to overflow and get messy. Because of this it can be an agonising process trying to find a students set of results or attendance marks when they are needed. He recently received a new computer from his Dad as a present.

My friends wants me to create a computerised spreadsheet for him whereby he could keep attendance of pupils and their grades and also create graphs out of the information to simplify it.

The more primitive way to solve this problem would be to create a more organised and effective manual system, like a folder with various sections in it to identify different pupils and grades that they have. However it is not the ideal way of solving this certain problem as it may prove to be just like his previous method.

Another way by which the problem could be solved would be to create a spreadsheet system.

The types of software packages I am considering for the use of this project are as follows: Database, DTP, Word Processing and Spreadsheet

Each piece of software has its downsides and its positives.

Spreadsheets are one of the best programs for storing information, it has fields in the row and column format and they can do calculations of the sum, max, formulae type and etc.

This is everything I will need for the Dave’s situation and therefore I have decided to use this type of program for my system.

Word Processing packages such as Microsoft Word are mainly text manipulation. They can store lot of data, but not in a suitable format for my end users needs. The packages cannot do any calculations so this is not the kind of package I need as it is too one sided.

DTP (Desktop Publisher) is a package which produces high quality design work e.g. leaflets, posters, flyers etc. This package is not applicable to this project as it cannot store data in an easy to read format and cannot do calculations, this is not what I need so I will not be using it, although it is a very big multi purpose system.

Database packages include Lotus123 and Microsoft Works, effective at storing information in fields (row and column format) but they cannot do complex calculations, which are needed. This type of program cannot do calculations it is unsuitable for my requirements. People like the police use databases to store information on criminals although it doesn’t suit the needs of this inquiry.

My friends teacher asked for a number of requirements to be met, they are as follows:

* Dave needs to use a spreadsheet to keep a record of the attendance of all of the students in the class.

* At the end of each half term he needs to be able to work out each student’s attendance as a percentage (%).

* The spreadsheet must calculate details relating to each student’s performance (results/marks) and how their performance relates to others in the class.

* The spreadsheet must calculate the total number of marks for each student each time a new set of marks is entered. It should also calculate the maximum, minimum and range scores for each assignment.

* Finally the spreadsheet should calculate the final grade for each student.

ANALYSIS

The information that I will need to collect in order to enter it onto the spreadsheet is as follows:

I will need to obtain a list of the student’s names from my form tutor.

I will need to find out the dates of the lessons.

I will finally need to find out the grade boundaries for the results, for e.g. in order to get an A the total mark will need to be more than 104 but less than 120.

I will need to know the subject or area that they are going to be marked in.

My minimum hardware requirements are follows:

Pentium II 266 MHz or higher

64 MB RAM

100 MB Free Hard Drive Space

15 Inch Colour Monitor supporting 800 x 600 VGA Monitor

Resolution (1024 x 768 highly recommended)

Windows XP professional)

Internet Access

Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0 or above

The various hardware, which I have chosen is mainly to cope with the powerful programs that I will be using and to be able to multi task so that I can switch between different files and programs for an easy spreadsheet build up.

My software requirements are as follows:

Microsoft Word

Microsoft Excel

I will use the software above as they are the best suited for my requirements and is what is needed for a spreadsheet.

On the spreadsheet I will use two sheets, one to record students’ attendance and one to record the students’ marks.

On the attendance sheet I will set up:

A column that incorporates a formula to calculate the attendance of each student as a percentage at the end of each half term.

The names of the students in the class

The dates of when the lessons take place

A column that incorporates a function to calculate a running total of the number of sessions attended by each student each half term

On the marks sheet I will set up:

The names of the students in the class

The titles of the Units

A row that incorporates a function to calculate the minimum mark for each unit

A row that incorporates a formula to calculate the range of marks for each unit

Columns, which use the IF…. THEN function to produce a final grade.

A column, which calculates using a function the running total of marks for each student

A row that incorporates a function to calculate the average mark for each unit

A row that incorporates a function to calculate the maximum mark for each unit

The spreadsheet is designed to be accessed on the computer and to be upgraded on the computer. So the best way to display it will obviously be on screen however if Dave or another user wishes to print out a hard copy this can be done. They can print out the various different graphs, which may prove useful.

Security is provided by making sure there are safeguards to ensure that data is not accidentally or maliciously corrupted. All the user will be able to do is enter the appropriate information in the right sections. The only person who will have total access to all areas both the users and behind the scenes of the database will be the administrator of the school. The system will have a password, which prevents the user from changing the design or appearance of forms.

As a backup I could send the spreadsheet to my email account regularly to prevent breached access. Instead of storing the spreadsheet on the hard drive I will store it all on a CD RW. The information can be edited and deleted and then re written onto the CD again, this is the advantage a CD RW has over a normal CD R.

DESIGN

The user needs to use a spreadsheet to keep a record of the attendance of all of the students in the class. At the end of each half term the user needs to be able to work out each student’s attendance as a percentage. The spreadsheet must calculate details relating to each student’s performance (results/marks) and how their performance relates to others in the class. The spreadsheet must calculate a total point’s score for each student each time a new set of marks is entered. It should also calculate the maximum, minimum and range scores for each assignment.

Finally the spreadsheet should calculate the final grade for each student according to his or her marks.

I will test a number of tasks to do with the spreadsheets in order to see if the spreadsheet is working smoothly, these tests are as follows:

Test 1: I will type in a random guess of marks and see if it calculates the percentage.

Test 2: I will test the Pie chart. I will alter one or two of the values in order to test the formula to create the pie chart.

Test 3: I will change the data that is needed for the graph and see if the graph changes accordingly.

Test No.

Purpose of Test

Expected Result

Actual Result

1

Test the calculations

Work

2

Test the pie chart

Work

3

Test the graphs

Work

IMPLEMENTATION

All students have to complete 4 coursework’s, and each coursework is awarded marks from 0-30. The grading scheme shows below. At the end of the course the student is on there is a total of 120 marks available and this final total determines the final grade.

Grade

A*

A

B

C

D

E

F

U

Mark Boundaries

115+

105+

89+

73+

53+

33+

21+

0+

Test No.

Purpose of Test

Expected Result

Actual Result

1

Test the calculations

Work

Work

2

Test the pie chart

Work

Work

3

Test the graphs

Work

Work

There were no unexpected results as the tests showed that there were no faults in the spreadsheets system and the certain features worked accordingly.

EVALUATION

Through out this project I have learnt a great deal and in evaluating what I have done I believe that I completed the objectives that I was given, by Dave my friends class teacher, to the fullest of my ability.

I have learnt how to test a spreadsheet and the various aspects that I should focus on. I have learnt how to design and create a spreadsheet, applying formulas to cells in order to work out calculation for me. However to get a clearer picture if the spreadsheet worked appropriately I had to get some feedback from the user. I sent an

E-mail to Dave asking him what he thought of the spreadsheet and if it worked better then his manual system. I asked him to send me his reply and it said:

“Thanks kid, that new spreadsheet thing works wonder, when I get the hang of this ill use it in the future because it saves me a lot of time”

The improvements and extensions that I could have made to the coursework would have been to have made a printable version of the spreadsheet so that the teacher could use it in his folder if he was not used to his new computer.

After reading the letter from Dave I have decided that numerous spreadsheets should be used all around for a much easier way of doing things efficiently and I believe that I have learnt a substantial amount in this project and I hope to use those skills in the future.

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