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Star course management software

Notes concerning the latest changes

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Version 2.2.7          Released 5th April 2017        a  the new version

Latest changes to Worsfold Software’s STAR Course Management software

Version 2.2.7  -  5th April 2017

1. Students' genders were not importing from Kamar or The Edge. They are now.

Version 2.2.6  -  16th February 2017

1. A new export of students and their standards has been added under Printing / Student Lists. The new last option produces a csv file of students and their standards.

Version 2.2.3  -  28th February 2017

1. The import of standards from NZQA as crashing at the end - if you had elected to import ALL standards, including Achievement Standards.

Version 2.2.2  -  7th February 2017

1. "The Edge" has been added to the list of SMS choices so that those using The Edge can now select that as their SMS.

Version 2.2.1  -  9th February 2017

1. The Gender by Ethnicity report was not reporting student numbers correctly where a course had no standards and no other assessments.

2. The printed version of the students results screen now has X results shaded pink - to match the screen version.

3. The Students list of achievements was not printing correctly. It has been modified.

4. "The Edge" has been added to the list of SMS choices so that those using The Edge can now select that as their SMS.

Version 2.1.29  -  15th April 2016

1. A further change for those using The Edge. Ethnicities NOW import correctly.

Version 2.1.28  -  11th March 2016

1. A minor change for those using The Edge. Ethnicities now import correctly.

Version 2.1.27  -  12th November 2015

1. A fault in attaching standards to courses where the course code was longer than 6 characters has been fixed.

Version 2.1.26  -  22nd October 2015

1. A fault in the total credits achieved in the List of Courses printout has been fixed.

2. A couple of faults in the 'Quick calculation of averge credits passed' hav been repaired.

Version 2.1.25  -  29th August 2015

The program was not saving standards on to courses for courses with 6-character codes.

Version 2.1.21  -  4th November 2014

The new 'Quick Progress Summary' button has been renamed to provide a constant indication of current progress.

Version 2.1.20  -  22nd October 2014

1. There is a new 'Quick Progress Summary' accessible via a new button in the top row (next to the Exit button).

2. A fault which prevented MUSAC users from importing more than one class into a course has been fixed.

Version 2.1.19  -  14th Sptember 2014

You now have the OPTION to import ALL standards, ignoring the Restricted Domain exclusions.

Version 2.1.18  -  23rd May 2014

Theremoval of individual results from the student's grid as not working. Now it is.

Version 2.1.15  -  27th January 2014

During December last year a number of schools discovered a few minor hiccups with the new version of Star. These were all corrected and I'm now releasing them to everyone. Most schools will not have been affected but those who were received version 2.1.14 during December. 2.1.15 includes all of the minor changes and brings everyone up to date.

Version 2.1.13  -  20th November 2013

A small number of schools have reported difficulties with version 2.1.12 released yesterday. This included a new version of a component and it seems that some school's security settings prevented the new version from being installed, causing a crash on attempting to access courses. I have reverted to the older version of the component and, hopefully, this new release will solve all outstanding problems.

Version 2.1.12  -  19th November 2013

At the Cate Conference in Queenstown a number of requests were received and these have been actioned.

  1. Under the ‘About’ menu item at the top of the screen you can now :
    a) View the application path (where your Star program lives)
    b) View these notes
  1. If you use the Tab button to move on to the Comment field then the Comment window didn’t open.  It does now.

  2. The default viewing option for the training videos is now set to ‘YouTube’. Previously it wasn’t set at all.

  3. When importing multiple classes from Kamar only the first class was being brought in.

  4. The two up and down buttons to the right of the list of course standards have been added to allow you to alter the order of the display of standards.

  5. You can now exclude cancelled courses from printed lists of courses.

 

Version 2.1.11  -  8th November 2013

Over the last couple of months there have been a few minor changes to Star and I've decided to now release them formally.

1. An error which occured when trying to change a course to 'Cancelled' has been repaired.

2. A loss of formatting after including a table on a document has been fixed.

3. The 'Attach all students' button when attaching a selected year level to a course was not working. It is now.

4. I've improved the 'attach students' process so that it now remembers previous year selections.

Version 2.1.7  -  17th September 2013

The routine to 'copy your database' to another destination was missed out of the new version - intentionally. At one school's request it has been added back in. It's the new bottom button under Utilities.

Version 2.1.6  -  4th August 2013

Three minor changes have been made

1. One school, using Star via Terminal Server, found that my beautiful screen fade in was VERY slow. I've added a configuration item to allow you to switch it on or off.

2. One school reported that the 'Print' button on the individual course costs entry screen was not working. It is now.

3. The Global Update from Kamar (via Utilities) was replacing birthdates with months of /00/. This has been fixed, but you'll need to ruj it again to get the correct months back again.

Version 2.1.5  -  7th May 2013

A minor fault for schools with a particular screen reolutions was causing the slide on the provider selection screen to be not visible.

This download also includes the latest file of unit standards.

Version 2.1.4  -  18th March 2013

A couple of further faults have revealed themselves unto us.

1. I'd neglected to include Overhead Costs in the Funding report Form final summary.

2. I'd neglected to provide the facility to type in a standard number at the top of the standards selection panel.

3. One school has reported that the buttons down the left hand side of the printing screen are partly hidden. That's been hard wired now.

Version 3 included a minor modification for one school.......but I didn't put it out onto the website.

Version 2.1.2  -  21st February 2013

It was inevitable, I guess, that the new version would have a bug or three. I held my breath for well over a week but, finally, some came through. They have been fixed :

1. The 'Print' button of the 'View Students' screen did not do anything. It does now.

2. Changing the date of a result for an 'Other Outcome' caused a crash.

3. Clicking in the provider column for 'Other Outcomes' did not always result in the provider screen being displayed.

4. There was no button to edit the 'Other Outcome' possibilities. It's now in place.

5. I was very proud of the new automatic process to spot and download new versions from the website. However, I forgot to include the little program which does that on the installation CD. Darn. That means that the first update to this version must be done in the old, manual way. See the instructions for doing this by clicking here.

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Version 1.5.11  -  22nd November 2012

A small fault was found in the Funding Report Form which would only happen in schools with LARGE star programs. All fixed.

 

Version 1.5.10  -  21st September 2012

Changes to Star Reporting

Arthur Sutherland has been at it again – striving to ensure that schools have as easier task as possible when it comes to managing the Star courses.

He has suggested several changes to the Funding Report Form to provide information required by the new on-line survey which the Policy Section of the MOE has introduced.

This new version includes these changes :

Table 1 – the ‘Totals’ row has been widened to make it clearer
Table 3 – the Title column has been narrowed so that a pdf version of the report displays the whole table on a single screen.
Table 4 has had a new line added – to provide the total amount a percentage used on ‘School-provided courses’.
There is a new Table 5 – which summarises achievements in ‘Other Assessments’.
There is a new Table 6 which summaries total and average student achievements with respect to standards.
I trust that you will find these additions most useful.

Version 1.5.9  -  14th November 2011

A minor change to the courses display for one which which was experiencing a crash when viewing a course with a large number of standards attached.

Version 1.5.8  -  14th November 2011

Two schools reported some results not coming through to the course summaries. It turned out to be due to a changed version of the standards concerned. I've removed the check on version numbers - so all should be well now.

Version 1.5.7  -  1st October 2011

This is NOT an essential download. There have been a few minor changes.

1. It is now possible to export the screen of a courses' students' results to a pdf file, via a new button at the bottom of the student screen.

2. The printout of the Financial Costs Summary has been slightly modified so that large negative overspends are shown correctly.

3. An annoying message which I temporarily inserted as a test for one school has been removed.

4. If you've made a copy of your database (via Utilities) and have since removed the destination then the program crashed. It doesn't now.

5. The latest file of standards from NZQA is included in the download.

Version 1.5.6  -  31st July 2011

A warning to Kamar users about the date of the last worsfold export has been added to the main screen.

Latest standards file included.

Version 1.5.5  -  16th February 2011

A fault in attaching students to classes from MUSAC for the PREVIOUIS year has been fixed.

Version 1.5.4  -  3rd December 2010

The following changes have been made in this release

  • The new file of standards from NZQA
  • A minor change to Table B of the Funding Report Form to better reflect numbers of students taking other achievements
  • A new Table 4 in the Funding Report Form – showing percentages of expenditure used in each area.
  • Improved import of standards and results particularly for MUSAC schools.  There should be no more ‘Domain unknown’ messages. And now importing subject / standards from MUSAC / Kamar should NOT result in the occasional import of excluded standards.
  • Two new Student printouts.  One is a separate text file for each student (automatically stored in a directory named after them under a new \star\r4esults subdirectory. This is a summary of each student’s achievements in Star during the year.  The second new list is a single file with ALL students achievement summaries.  Both are generated via ‘Printing utilities’ / ‘Students’.
  • Other income and the expenditure of the same have been relabeled to ‘Recoveries income’ and ‘Recoveries  expenditure’ respectively to avoid confusion with ‘Other expenditure’ under courses and overheads.
  • Those using none of the standard SMS systems (MUSAC, Kamar, IES and PCSchool) we sometimes hac=ving a student’s date of birth replaced by their ethnicity.  This fault has been fixed.
  • For next year, income has been split into four quarters (as it was two years ago).  Spaces have been recreated to allow for those.
  • Students lists showing achievements were including X results.  They’ve now been removed.
  • A new final column has been added to the students results window under each course which allows you to record a teacher’s comment on each student. Such comments have been now added to ‘Print lists’ / ‘Student lists’ / ‘Include courses and achievements’

Version 1.5.3  -  16th September 2010

A minor change to one printing routine requested by one school

Version 1.5.2  -  26th June 2010

A nasty little fault has appeared, which affect MUSAC schools. During the import of students I checked to ensure that only regular students were being added. Unfortunately I got the test the wrong way around and only regular students are being excluded. This release repairs that fault.

Version 1.5.1  -  26th June 2010

During the twelve Star seminars held in Greymouth, Nelson and the North Island during May and early June we received 67 requests for changes and enhancements to the program. Many were minor screen changes and a few were bugs (two are reported below).   There are not 67 separate items below – as frequently several combined into a single request and some were too trivial to list.

 Bug fixes

  1. When Viewing students attached to courses you can use the <Columns and >Columns buttons to slide the results columns to the left and to the right. If you had ‘Dates hidden’ then, when you slid columns back to the right, dates were reappearing. Now they stay hidden.

  2. Two minor faults were found in the Funding report form.  a) Students with an X result for an ‘other outcome’ were being removed from the count of students taking the course in the Part B table.  b) If you had two different providers delivering two ‘other outcomes’ then only one was being counted in the Part B table.

Main

  1. A new button has been added to the top line – which allows you to access the package manual – provided that you are online.  Yes, I know that it is not really up to date but we will be addressing this situation shortly.

Courses

  1.  When attaching a class to a course students and their results will now be loaded instantly rather than only occurring when you click on ‘Update from classes’.

  2. In some cases some domains were ‘Unknown’ when importing from MUSAC markbooks.  An extra process has been added to identify such unknown domains.

  3. When attaching students from MUSAC only Regular Students are now attached.  Previously foreign students who should not have been included were being attached.

  4. Providers locations.  This now defaults to 1.

  5. If a cost has been paid then you can enter ‘Yes’ in the paid column by just clicking in the ‘Paid’ column of the costs spreadsheet.

  6. When attaching students manually to a course you can now use the ‘Select all’ button to attach all displayed students.  This is useful if, for example, everyone in Year 12 is taking a First Aid course.

  7. When ‘Viewing students’ the currently selected student’s row is now highlighted.

  8. When adding a new ‘other outcome’ to a course you will find that a suitable abbreviation is automatically created for you. You can then change it if you so wish.  This was done as some folk were not adding an abbreviation and then finding that the results were not being reported in the Funding Summary.

Configuration

  1. The ‘Unallocated Budget’ column on the ‘Budgets’ spreadsheet (which has been obsolete for the last two or three years) has finally been removed.

  2. Under ‘Budget Details’ you can no longer enter a budget for Overheads under the headings of ‘Staffing costs (school)’ or ‘Courses’.

  3. Arthur’s Bubbles

    Arthur Sutherland requested that people be able to add a list of anticipated expenditures to each budget on the ‘Budget Details’ screen.  This can now be done by right-clicking on the budget item concerned. A small spreadsheet (similar to the existing costs spreadsheets) will pop up and you can record the details.  Any budgets having lists behind them will subsequently be shaded a delicate yellow.

Print Lists

  1. All lists now have the option to ‘Print to a pdf file’ via a button at the top of the document viewing screen.  Clicking this button will cause a dialogue to be displayed via which you can provide the name and the location of the pdf file which will then be generated.

  2. The Funding Report Form can now be ‘Saved as a pdf to the desktop’ using a single button click – at the top of the document viewing window.  You can still click on the ‘Email’ button to see and select a Star Advisor’s email address.  The selected address will be copied into the Windows Clipboard and it can then be ‘Pasted’ into the address line in your Email client.  Then you can attached the pdf of the returns from your desktop.

  3. If you select ‘Course lists’ / ‘results and dates’ you will find that each standard on each student now has the Provider name and Provider code list in the document.

  4. If you select ‘Student lists’ / ‘Include courses and achievements’ and print a separate page for each student then a summary of the students credits at each level has been added to the printed summary.

  5. The headings on the ‘Funding / Costs Summary’ have now been shaded.

Utilities

  1.  Update standards from NZQA

    This process is now MUCH faster – as only every fiftieth standard is actually displayed. They ARE all imported however, except those in excluded domains.


  2. Check for excluded standards.

    This is a new button under utilities. It seems that one or two schools managed to have excluded standards attached to a course.  This new utility does a fast check on the standards attached to courses and report on whether or not they should be excluded.

  3. Update data from MUSAC / Kamar

    If you are using MUSAC or you are using Kamar or PCSchool or IES and you have a new worsfold.csv file of data then this new utility allows you to do a global update of both basic student data and standards and their results.


  4. Copy your database

The ‘Make a backup’ routine has been replaced with a ‘Copy your Database’ routine. You should be having regular backups of your Star database made through your school’s backup system.  However, you can now copy your current year’s Star database to any other disk drive / directory of your choice.  This could, of course, include a USB drive – although I’ve found that the copying process can take a while – depending on the speed of your USB port used for the drive.

5.
‘Email a database’

This process, which no longer works following Microsoft’s security enhancements, has been replaced by a full set of instructions.  These are the instructions which I have been emailing to those wishing to email me a copy of their database – for diagnostic purposes.  Basically, the process involves a)  making a copy of the database  b)  renaming it to a .txt file   c)  zipping it up and d) emailing it to me.  The instructions can be printed out and passed to your IT person if necessary.


6.
The utilities to ‘Export results’ and ‘Import CM results’ have been removed. The later is, of course, replaced by item 3 above – ‘Update from MUSAC’.

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Version 1.4.12  -  10th March 2010

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  1.  There have been several changes to headings and three new ‘What’s this’ buttons in the budgeting area.  These should clarify the purposes of various details.
  2. On the ‘Budget Details’ screen the ‘Unallocated’ column has been removed and the ‘Contingencies’ row has been moved to the top, above the ‘Overheads’ row, as overheads could also come out of contingencies.
  3. When printing ‘Course lists’ / ‘Financial details’ you will now find that the budgets for each area have been added as a new column on the printout.
  4. When printing ‘Student Lists’ you now have the option to either print everything in a single list (as it was before) or alternatively to produce a separate single page per student.
  5. A fault in the end-of-year rollover meant that all budgets and incomes and costs were brought forward from last year, even if you had requested that they NOT be brought forward. As you enter the package for the first time you will be given the option to remove them.  Only do this, of course, if you have not already spent time setting up for the new year.  Suitable corrections have been made to the end-of-year process so that it will work properly next year. You will only be asked this ONCE.
  6. The end-of-year option to remove costs and budgets has itself been removed (In future they WILL all be removed) and has been replace by an option to ‘Roll over course dates to the nearest matching dates’.  This happened automatically before but some asked that it be made optional.

Version 1.4.11  - 24th January 2010

1. A couple of minor changes

Version 1.4.10  -  7th December 2009

1. In a very few schools some unit standard numbers have been changed during the year AFTER results had been entered. This causes the results concerned to be omitted from the Fubnding Report Form. This version ensures that they are included.

2. Several schools kept getting the previous version when downloading the latest. This was due to the earlier download being cached in their computer and being reoffered instead of retrieving the new download. To get around this, each download will, infuture, be named according to the version number e.g. this one is 'star1410.zip'.

Version 1.4.9  -  7th December 2009

1. The couple of anomalies have arisen in the Funding report Form. These have been repaired.

a) The numbers of students of each ethnicity were not always adding up to the total number of students taking each course. (This happened where a student had already been counted in a previous course).

b) In one school numbers of standards gained was far too high. This turned out to be due to the fact that they had changed the version numbers of standards being taken but had not made the change in the program. As a result, when they updated from Kamar, a new set of results was entered for the same standard, causing the numbers to be doubled.

2. A 'Totals' line has been added to the 'Budget Details' screen and a 'Print' button has been added to the same screen so that you can print the display.

3. A similar 'Print' button has been added to the new 'Budget Summary' screen (under Configuration). This screen shows you what your financial results would look like if you spent your budgetted amounts exactly.

4. A 'Print' button has been added to the bottom of the small screen used to enter costs to allow you to print the display.

5. The entry of 'Other Outcomes' is now done using a pull down menu in the left hand column of the 'Other outcomes' table. A small button in the column heading may be used to pop up a screen via which you can add extra 'other outcomes' of your own.

Version 1.4.8  -  24th November 2009

1. A temporary modification for one school

Version 1.4.7  -  11th November 2009

1. The updating of results from the new Kamar file only worked for those standards attached to courses linked to classes. The 'Update from Classes' process has been modified so that this restriction is no longer necessary and results will be imported regardless on whether or not the course is linked to an option class.

2. Some time ago a fault was noticed in the final section of the Funding Report - with dates showing in the details column. This has been fixed.

3. The import routine from Kamar was filing the results in beautifully, and also putting them in the dates column as well. Its is now beaving properly.

Version 1.4.6  -  12th October 2009

Kamar has released a new version of their worsfold export file. This version contains more information relating to each student. Now, as you 'Update from classes' each student's NSN will be imported and latest results of unit standards will also now be imported from the worsfold.csv file. In addition, as you connect option classes to courses then any non-excluded unit standatds attached to these classes will be automatically attached to the course. This was previously only available to MUSAC users.

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Version 1.4.5  -  31st August 2009

Threre is but a single minor adjustment for one school who wanted a considerable number of 'other outcomes' for a course and the current limit of 10 was insufficient. The limit has been raised to 20.

However, this release does have with it the latest file of unit standards from NZQA - dated 12th August 2009. Those who require this should download and install this update.

Version 1.4.4  -  27th March 2009

Two faults reported and fixed.

1. Merit results for unit standards were not being recognised. They are now.

2. The Funding Report Form total income figure is wrong - as it is still acumulating the original four income figures which have now been replaced by just two. If you had entries in the third and fourth term spots - they are still being counted in to the total.

Version 1.4.3  -  27th March 2009

Those schools using MUSAC will require this version in order to be able to automatically import students' NSID number. This process had a minor fault.

The new area where you can record 'Other expenses' (on the overheads screen) was not recording the information entered. It is now.

Version 1.4.2  -  21st March 2009

This is a major release and it includes the following changes.

  1.  The new version of the list of excluded domains has been added.
  2. The latest file of unit standards is attached.
  3. Two new fields have been added to each student.  These are ‘NSID’ and ‘Date of Birth’.  If you are a MUSAC user then, when you click ‘Update from classes’ the current student data will be re-imported.  If you are a Kamar user then, currently, only the ‘Date of Birth’ can be re-imported when you click ‘Update from classes’.
  4. If you sort unit standards on a column (by clicking in the column heading) they no longer disappear!  (The blanks at the bottom of the list were being sorted to the top of the list)
  5. The font size in the comment area has been increased to make it easier to read.
  6. Two new columns have been added to the costs entry table.  They are ‘Order Number’ and ‘Paid?’.  Several schools have asked for these so here they are. Their use is, of course, completely optional. Ignore them if you don’t want them.
  7. When you change an Overheads’ budget this is now reflected immediately on the ‘Overheads’ screen.
  8. Two of the web site links via the top line menu were not working correctly.  They are now.
  9. There have been several changes relating to the Funding Report Form.

a)   The provider is now reported for every standard or other assessment – not just the first for each course.

b)   There are no longer four income areas. The four term areas have been replaced by one annual income area where you enter the ‘Initial from Ops Grant’.  There is a second box where you can enter the total of any adjustments which you have received during the year.

c)   Gender and Ethnicity have been added to the first two tables, as required by the returns.

d)    When you generate the returns a check is performed to count the number of results found on students. This is then compared with the number of results expected.  If there is a discrepancy then this is reported – and the missing results are assumed to be ‘Not achieved’.

e)   ‘Other Income and expenditure’ are now reported separately, as they fall outside of the MOE funding report. 

        i)  At the top of each course’s ‘Financial Details’ page there is an area where you can specify ‘Other Income’.  This has always been there.  A similar box has been added to the top of the ‘Overheads Costs’ screen – to allow you to specify other income you have received which is not related to specific courses.

        ii) Both the individual courses ‘Financial Details’ screens and the ‘Overhead costs’ screen
have a new cost entry area labeled ‘Other costs’ where you can record details of the expenditure of any ‘other income’.

        iii)  The ‘Funding/Costs Summary’ has been modified to report any other income and expenditure’ at the right hand end of the report – separated from the Funded income and expenditure.

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Version 1.3.10  -  1st February 2009

No changes to the program. This release contains the new version of the standards file from NZQA.

Version 1.3.9  -  1st February 2009

Some schools went back a week ago and I have had a number of phone calls complaining that their Star program was asking for a version password. This was a neat piece of code which I put in early on in the program's development to test for a valid registration file for each year. Unfortunately, I forgot to remove it. It has been removed now. My apologies for the inconvenience.......

Version 1.3.7  -  14th January 2009

If you had not previously rolled over to 2009 then the program was telling you that, and then saying that it could not find the preferred year database. This has been fixed and it will now let you in again.

Version 1.3.5  -  10th November 2008

Two somewhat disconcerting faults were found while at the Cate Conference.

  •  If you attempt to link a course to a class, via MUSAC or Kamar, then, as you leave the link screen, the computer goes into a perpetual flashing display.  It looks alarming, but it is trying to load one form, then decides to load another, then tries again for the first, then decides to revert to the second and so on – forever.  I suspect that this fault has been there for some time but that some computers cope with it.  Mine doesn’t.
  • If you print your returns, then immediately, without leaving the printing area, print them again, you’ll see that the cost totals double up, and triple if you do it again.  Rather disconcerting….
These have both been fixed.

Version 1.3.5  -  10th November 2008

A fault has appeared in the End-of-year rollover routine, causing it to crash. Please use THIS version to do the end-of year process.

Version 1.3.4  -  4th October 2008

A minor change for one school - and I've forgotten what it was!!!!

Version 1.3.3  -  9th September 2008

A small but annoying error has been found and repaired. If you visit the 'Budget Details' screen without first visiting the 'Overhead Costs' screen then, if you make a change to a budget, all of your overhead cost entries are removed! Grrrr!

Version 1.3.2  -  12th June 2008

Following the North Island series of Star seminars the following changes have been made to the Star package.  Not all of the requests and suggestions received have been auctioned yet.  Some are still on my list of ‘things to do’.

  1.  If you wish to change the spelling of a student’s name then you can do so by right-clicking on the name concerned.  You’ll then be able to either delete the student entirely or to change the spelling of their name.

  2. You can now copy a course.  This allows you to copy a course from one term within the year and to duplicate its details, giving it a new course code and, presumably, changing its dates.

  3. You can click in the column headings of the list of courses to sort either the code or the title column.

  4. A set of menu items providing access to the Worsfold Software website have been added to the main menu across the top of the main screen. 

  5. If a budget total is wrong (e.g. you accidentally allowed $4000 for something instead of $40) then you can have it re-totalled correctly by clicking on it.

  6. You can now import courses from the previous year’s database via a new button on the courses screen.

  7. You cannot now email your Funding Report unless you HAVE clicked all four of the income entries under Configuration / Income and budgets.

  8. M (for merit) is now an allowable result for a unit standard.  It is permissible for SOME (a few) unit standards.

  9. When selecting a unit standard from the displayed list to attach to a course you can now type the number of the standard for which you are searching into a text box at the top of the standard selection window.

  10. When entering budgets you can have the new budget either deducted from the contingencies amount or not – via two options at the top of the screen.  If you select neither option then the program will ask you to decide.

  11. If you have several columns into which you need to enter student’s results then you can now slide the columns to the left (or to the right again) in order to being the column you want over to be against the students’ names.

  12. If you are using neither MUSAC nor Kamar and you are entering a student manually then you can select a student from a list of existing students (already taking courses) on the right hand side of the screen.  This list can now be switched to look at ‘last year’s students)

  13. 'Student contributions’ (towards the income for courses) has been renamed to ‘Other income’.

I was also asked how to generate the Kamar export file for use with the Star (and Gateway) package. I have received the following instructions from Kamar :

To export the worsfold.csv file :

  •  From the main menu select ‘Printing’.
  • Select ‘External programs’.
  • Select ‘Export to Worsfold’

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Version 1.2.6  -  12th June 2008

Several changes have been made since the last release in November 2007.  Arthur Sutherland has been is normal thoughtful self and has made numerous suggestions, mainly in the areas of the Funding Report Form and the Budgetting process.  Many others have also put in requests and these have been included in this release.


New standards from NZQA

This release includes the latest file of standards from NZQA.  Now, whenever a new file is detected, the program will automatically suggest that you import them and will lead you straight to the import process.
Printing lists – the year of the database has been added to the school name so that you can easily tell to which year the printout refers.

Printing the Funding Report.

As you arrive at the first screen you will notice four areas where you can type in the information which is to appear on the first page of the report.  The intention is that you can email it without having to post a signed copy of the front page.  Whether or not this is legal will be determined between now and the end of the year and we will let you know if it is OK to proceed in this way.
You will notice several changes to the middle pages of the Funding Report – made at the direction of Arthur Sutherland (who has put an incredible amount of time, effort and thought and testing) in to the report.  Its new simplicity and usefulness are a tribute to his perseverance.

Budgeting.

Herein lie the major changes.

Firstly, lets look at the individual course financial details screen, an example of which is shown below.



The obvious difference is that you can now have an individual budget for each cost centre.  However, the budgets cannot be entered via this screen.

Now lets go over to configuration and look at the income and budgets screen there! (See below)

You will have immediately noticed that the wish list now has a total at the bottom.

Apart from that, we now show the totals allocated to both Overheads and Contingencies in the list on the left hand side.  The total available is shown, followed by the three allocated totals (Overheads, Contingencies and Courses) followed by the remaining total unallocated.

On the right hand side, on the list of courses, we’ve added both Overheads and Contingencies and the budgets for each are shown – but you cannot edit the budget here either.

At the top of the screen is a new fourth tab titled ‘Budget Details’.

The screen for this new area is shown below and it is here that you specify all of the budget details.

Initially, any total budget which you had specified will be in the column labeled ‘Unallocated budget’ and you are encouraged to split this across the various cost centres.  As you do so the unallocated portion of the budget will be automatically reduced, leaving the total budget for the course unchanged. Only by going beyond this point and adding new amounts to cost centre budgets can you increase the total budget for each course. (The same applies to Overheads and Contingencies).

If you do use this process to add budgets to cost centres for new courses then, as you add them you can elect to have the amounts automatically removed from the corresponding entries under Contingencies.

The process has been tested thoroughly and we believe that it should be fairly easy to follow and will provide a much better planning and analysis of your expenditure.

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Version 1.1.25  -  27th November 2007

Following the Cate conference the following enhancements have been made to the STAR package.

Bug fixes :

Three minor faults were found and these have been fixed.

1.  Results imported from Classroom Manager were not sticking.

2.  Two spots on the new Table 2 of the returns were not being reported correctly.

3.  The printing of student lists was not ending up at the viewing screen.

Enhancements :

1.  The process of attaching providers has been improved.  Now, the first screen which appears when you go to select a provider is simply a list of those already specified.  To adjust this list you click on a suitably named button at the bottom of the small screen which leads you to a screen where you can add new providers, delete old one or change provider details (e.g. spelling, location)

2.  Costs areas now have a spreadsheet instead of a simple text area. N.B.  This will only come in to effect in 2008 as it would be too confusing to change things at this stage of the year for 2007.  In future, for each cost area for both individual courses and for overheads you will be able to enter a list of items by date, cost and detail.  The total of items entered will automatically be recorded back as the total for the cost area.

3.  There is a new printout under ‘List Printing / Courses’.  This allows you to generate a full printout of the financial aspects of each course.  Where nothing has been entered, blank areas will be listed, providing you with a sheet (for each course) which you can hand to the school accounts person with your request for financial summary information.

4.  The process of entering dates against results has been improved. By default the current date will appear but, if you change a date, then this will then become the new default.

5.  Those students who have withdrawn from standards will no longer be reported in the returns.

6.  It is now easier to delete an item from your wish list.  Just right-click to delete.

7.  The automatic import of units from Classroom Manager markbooks now excludes those with excluded domains.

Coming soon :

1.  I am working on a much easier way for you to automatically update from the web site.  If all goes well the program will update itself for you in future, but that’s for next year.

2.  Arthur wants individual budget areas for each cost area for each course!  It will happen next year.

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Version 1.1.24  -  19th November 2007

Bug fix

It was no longer possible to delete a student from a course. This has been fixed.

There is also a minor correction to the Ministry Returns Table 2

Version 1.1.23  -  8th November 2007

What happened to versions 19 - 22 ?

These were iterim test versions used in one or two centres while developing this new version.

Please take a minute or two to read the following notes for version 1.1.23 as they do provide you with a good overview of what has been developed to help you.

There are three files in this update. 

a)         The new version of the program itself  (star.exe)
b)         A text file of the Star support advisors and their emails. (This is used by the
            routine which allows you to email your returns to your advisor.)
c)         The current copy of the NZQA file of standards. (See notes below)

1.  Gender / ethnicity analysis.

This new summary is available via a new button under Print Lists.  It has several possibilities as far as the display is concerned.  You may include or exclude assessment information and include or exclude results.

2.  The funding summary

This report has been modified just a little to make it easier to compare the results with those shown on the Ministry Returns.  It also now includes ALL courses, whether or not they have assessments attached.

3.  The Funding Summary – Ministry Returns

Quite a lot of work has gone into the Ministry Returns – the Funding Summary.  The main two summaries should now be a lot neater and there is a new summary of parts A and B providing a lot of information relating to the courses and their results.

4.  Course codes are longer now

The length of each course ID may now be up to nine characters instead of the original five.

5.  Sorting units into order

You may now arrange the order of the unit standards attached to each course.  One school wanted to display them in the order in which they were being taken, rather than in unit order, or in the order in which they were attached.  Two little buttons enable you to move the selected unit up or down the list, and the new order will be memorised for future display.

6.  Unit standards in the star database

The database of unit standards is now built in to the star database.  This will be done automatically the first time you run the new version.  Thereafter, if you wish to update this database with new standards from NZQA you can do it by obtaining the standards.txt file from the NZQA website and running the new update utility within the Star package.  The latest version of this has been included with this download.

7.  Excluded domains

Certain domains are excluded from STAR.  Unit standards within these domains will be excluded from the database and you may no longer select them.  (If you currently have included units from excluded domains then these will NOT be removed by the automatic process.)

8.  Individual course lists with results

A new printing option allows you to produce nicer course lists showing students results.

9.  Date of achievement

A new ‘Date achieved’ column has been added beside each standard on the students’ results spreadsheet.  You can use this to record the date at which each student completed each standard.  I’ve attempted to make it easy to enter these dates.  There is a ‘fill column with’ facility, by right clicking on the column heading.  The program also remembers the last date that you entered and automatically fills this in to any empty date cell (which has a result in the previous column).  If you haven’t entered a date manually then the current date is used as a starting point.

10.  Emailing returns.

There is a new button at the top of the Ministry Returns display screen.  This allows you to email the returns to one of the Star Advisors.  It works by converting the returns to a pdf file and attaching that to an email.  If you arrive at your email program and the pdf file is NOT attached then you will find it in an ‘\emailed returns’ directory under your \star directory.  (Sometimes, some computers will not let the attachment process occur automatically.) 

11.  Returns data

The process of generating the returns not also generates a .csv file of the data therein.  (A .csv file is a ‘comma separated variable’ file which can be opened by Excel or Notepad.  Some Star Advisors (e.g. Mark Dashper) are keen to have this file from you as it enables them to add your data easily to an overall region summary.  Unfortunately, it was not possible to attach both the returns pdf and the returns csv files to the email sending process.  You can choose which you wish to send and you might wish to send both.  This can be done by either sending two separate emails or by manually adding the second file to the first email.

12.  The End-of-year rollover

This process, via which a copy is made of one year’s database, ready for the following year (excluding students and results etc) now attempts to replace the start and end dates of each course with the nearest matching dates of the new year.  You will, of course, need to check these dates to ensure that they are sensible and correct.

13.  Vista….(Microsoft’s new operating system)

… seems to me to be more trouble than it is worth!

One school has a brand new very nice Vista laptop and had huge difficulty installing the software.  It turns out that the compression process used in

a)  making a backup and
b) emailing a copy of  your database to me

is not compatible with a new 64-bit machine operating Vista.  As a result I’ve remove this component from the package and the backup and emailing routines now no longer zip the file first.  This should not cause a problem to anyone. 

At a future date I’ll put the utility back and have it in a separate part of the program where you need never go if you are running Vista on a 64-bit computer.

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Version 1.1.18  -  24th July 2007

Bug fix

One school has reported that results for a unit standard are not 'sticking' for one particular course. The fault turned out to be a space attached to the version number. The program has been altered to remove such spaces. I've been unable to find out what caused them in the first place.

Version 1.1.17  -  19th July 2007

Bug fix

This one only affects those who have just installed the package for the first time using version 1.1.16. A fault meant that the database for 2007 was not automatically created. A copy of the correct database has been emailed to all schools affected so there should be no real need for anyone to download this new version.

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Version 1.1.16  -  11th July 2007

Since the last release I have conducted four further seminars in Auckland, Hamilton and Whangarei, demonstrating the package to current users and interested schools. As usual, a considerable number of suggestions were received concerning enhancements to the package. Many of these have now been added to the software and, at the same time, three small faults have been identified and repaired.

Enhancements

1. CM – connection of standards from markbooks

If you are using MUSAC’s Classroom Manager then, when you connect the course to one or more option classes then any unit standards attached to those options are now automatically added to the list of unit standards for the course concerned.

2. Change course code

If you change a course code then this change is now reflected in the list of courses as soon as you ‘Save changes’ – rather than having to wait until the next time you enter the ‘Edit courses’ screen.

3. Autosave of financial details

Several schools have asked why it is necessary to have a ‘Save changes’ button.  I guess that it reflects my programming history a little.  I have removed it from the financial details screens. Now, as soon as you make a change it is automatically saved.

It’s not quite as easy to do this for courses’ details as you cannot save a new course until five separate details have been specified – but I’ll ponder it all deeply for the future.

4. Course financial – Next and Previous buttons

When entering financial details for a course there is now no longer any need to exit back to the ‘Edit courses’ main screen to select the next course.  The financial details screen now has ‘Previous’ and ‘Next’ buttons to move you to the previous or next course.

5. End-of-Year financial clearances

The end-of-year rollover process has been modified to allow you to optionally retain course budgets and/or expenditure details.

6. All cost centres now have comments

Previously three of the cost centres (e.g. travel) did not have comment areas and a breakdown of costs was not required for the returns.  Now all centres have comment areas for your use as you see fit.

7. The Overhead budget is now included in the budget configuration area.

There is a new ‘Contingencies’ entry field in the financials area.  This allows you to ‘set aside’ a portion of your anticipated income for unexpected contingencies.

8. A new table for a ‘wish list’ has been added to the package.  This is where you may plan for the use of your contingencies funds.

9. The ‘Funding/costs’ summary has been modified to provide you with more information.

10. The Kamar process of attaching to classes has been modified as the information obtained from the Kamar export file is NOT able to be used to generate true option lines. Hence the option structure has been replaced by a simple list of options.

11. The process of attaching a provider to a standard or assessment has been modified to save you time.  You can now either select from your existing providers or add a new one to the list.

12. A new tick-box labelled ‘Received invoice’ has been added at the request of one school.

Bug fixes

Several small but annoying faults have been identified and squashed.  Those of you attending the seminars will have noted that a seminar is perhaps the very best way to spot a bug – and those spotted no longer exist. (The worst one was a crash on saving a new course caused by clicking on an empty spot on the list of courses rather than on the ‘Add a new course’ button prior to entering details. It was an obvious way for you to do it – but it caused a crash.)

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Version 1.1.15  -  31st May 2007

a)  Automatic attachment of students to courses

The major new feature is the ability to import students automatically from both MUSAC’s Classroom Manager and from Kamar.

Until this release you could connect to either, and select students from a list of those available. Now, you can connect one or more classes to a course and, on request by clicking a button, all students in those classes will be automatically added to the course list.  In the case of MUSAC any results for unit standards already in the Classroom Manager database will also be imported directly into Star.

This is how it works :

  1. If you are linked to Classroom Manager then you will see a new data entry box on your courses definition screen.

a

If you click on this box (having first selected a course) then the following window will appear….

a

… displaying all of the option classes for the nominated set in the nominated year. Since the course I am working with is ‘Media Studies’ I’ll select the class  12MSTHG in the D option line, which will then be highlighted as shown below. The options displayed are retrieved from the Classroom Manager database. In the case of Kamar, students options are scanned in an attempt to generate option lines. These may or may not be perfectly aligned.

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a

Select all of the option classes taking the course in question and click ‘Exit’. The selected course or courses will now be displayed in the original window :

a

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You may not edit this, other than by re-clicking to select. Its format includes a space and the option line number at the beginning of each entry followed by a ‘pipe’ character | as a separator.

Now, when you click on ‘View students’ you will find a new button at the bottom of the screen.

a

If you click on this button then all students in the class will automatically be added to the course list, along with any results for associated unit standards already held in Classroom Manager.

You may re-click this button at any time to update the list and results. N.B.  Only results BETTER than existing ones will be brought in from ClassRoom Manager. i.e. and blank can be replaced by ‘N’ or ‘A’ and an ‘N’ by ‘A’.  ‘X’ results will NOT be replaced.

b)  You can now edit students’ genders and ethnicities.  The format of the import file from Kamar changed and, as a result, in some cases, all imported students were ‘Female’.  To check/edit genders and ethnicities, select a course and ‘View students’.  The genders and ethnicities are displayed on the table.  A button below allows you to hide or display this information.

c) Gender and Ethnicity have been added to the various formats of the ‘list of students’ printouts.

d) The special page of the Funding Report which summarises your income and expenditure for courses has been moved to a new button of its own.  This means that you can check it without having to go through the returns area.

e)  There have been several orange labels added in various places to alert you to the fact that you can do things by right-clicking in certain areas, e.g. deletion of standards, certificates, students.

f) Due to a change in the structure of the file of standards you MUST download the currently available file (Download it) in order to be able to lick standards to courses in this version.

g)  A number of small faults have also been identified and eradicated. These include ;

            (i)  The ability to duplicate a unit standard or certificate on a course.
            (ii)  An error occasionally occurred when saving a course.  This should now be fine.

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Version 1.1.14  -  20th May 2007

Bug fixes : 

1. The newly created 'Student contribution' was not saving back to the database. It is now.

Enhancements.

This version contains a major enhancement for users of MUSAC's Classroom Manager and Student Manager. Now you can specify which option class(es) are taking each course and a button click causes all of the students concerned and their existing results to be brought into the package. Full details will be emailed on around 23rd May.

Version 1.1.13  -  7th May 2007

Version 1.1.13 is an immediate follow up to 1.1.12 - as a small error has been found and fixed therein.

Following two training courses run in Invercargill and Dunedin where a number of enhancements were suggested the following changes have been made.

1.  A number of minor faults were identified and repaired. These included a spelling mistake, a missed bracket, and a couple of faults in recording student results.

2.  In addition to course-related costs there are also overhead costs associated with running STAR courses.  A screen has been added where these can be specified.  This screen is accessed via ‘Configuration’

a

The costs entered here will also appear on the Ministry Returns analysis of costs.

3.  If you change the code of an ‘other assessment’ (e.g a certificate) then any students attached to the old code will have this attachment changed to the new code – so their previously entered results will automatically move across to the new code.

4.  You can now enter the same result on all students taking a particular unit standard using the new ‘Fill column with…’ process. To do this, go to the spreadsheet displaying the students and their results for the various unit standards attached to a course and right-click in the heading area above a particular standard.

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a

N.B.  You cannot fill a column with ‘X’ – student has withdrawn from standard, and filling a column will NOT overwrite existing ‘X’ entries.

5.   Two changes have been made to printed lists.

a)  The list of courses now includes information relating to the number of students taking each standard, the number of successes and the total credits gained. An example of the new information is shown below.



a

b) Similarly, the list of students has been modified to now include the version and level of each unit standard, the credits gained, and the students total credits gained, as shown below.

a


6.   I am reliably informed that, in addition to M.o.E. funding for courses, school can also receive a contribution from the students taking the course.  An entry area has been added to allow this information to be added to the course costs screen.  Income entered here is NOT reported on the M.o.E. returns.  An example of the screen in question is shown below.

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a

7.      Finally, for those schools using Kamar as their SMS, a small change has been made.  Kamar changed the format of their export file and, as a result, some schools have their students’ house showing instead of their year level.  The import process has been altered to take account of this change, and you may also now edit the students’ ‘year’ to ensure that the correct information is contained in that column.  An example of the screen in question is shown below.

a

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Version 1.1.11  -  24th April 2007

Bug fix : 

1.  The program would not correctly delete an 'other assessment' on request.

Version 1.1.10  -  18th March 2007

Enhancements : 

1.  The program is now compatible with the KAMAR Student Management System.

KAMAR provides for the export of a file titled 'worsfold.csv'. If you use KAMAR to generate that file and copy it into your \star directory, then your students will be available for adding to courses in the same way that students from MUSAC's Classroom Manager are.

You will need to visit configuration and select the Kamar link option. The manual and on-line help have both been updated to provide details of this. You can download the new version of the manual from The STAR download screen.

Version 1.1.9  -  12th March 2007

Bug fixes : 

1.  A minor alteration for one school.

Version 1.1.8  -  5th March 2007

Bug fixes : 

1.  If a course had more than fifty students a crash was occuring....but now its not.

Version 1.1.7  -  4th February 2007

Bug fixes : 

1.  A minor fault in the printing of course lists with tick boxes has been repaired.  This was causing a crash.

Version 1.1.6  -  19th December 2006

Bug fixes : 

1.  My Irish ancestry have contacted me to let me know that I had overlooked allowing for apostrophes in students’ names.  This was causing a crash when a new student (e.g. O’Shaunessey) was added.

Version 1.1.5  -  8th December 2006

Enhancements :   (Following a seminar/demonstration in Christchurch on Monday 4th December)

1.  There have been a few minor adjustments to titles of fields.  For example, ‘Unit Standard number’ has been changed to ‘Unit standard code’ and ‘Code’ has been changed to ‘Course Id’.

2. A note to remind you that all costs must be NET of GST has been added to the cost entry screen.

3.  The course start and end dates have been added to the top of the lists printout.

4.  Four new tick fields have been added to each course to assist you in keeping a track of where you are up to. These are :

  • Receievd students’ results
  • Received attendance record
  • Received certificate
  • Entered students’ results

5.  When printing a list of your students you can now choose to print them in alphabetical order or year level order.

6. If you have selected several new standards to add to a course then, when you enter the provider details for the first of these, the details are copied down to the other new standards as well.

7.  If you are connected to ClassRoom Manager then, once the list of students has been loaded, it is remembered and you do not have to wait while it is reloaded for each different course.

Version 1.1.4  -  28th November 2006

Bug fixes : 

1.  If you attempted to CHANGE the result on a student the new entry was not 'sticking'. It is now....

Version 1.1.3  -  23rd November 2006

Enhancements :  

1.  It was previously not possible to remove an 'other assessment' from a course.  Now you can do so by right-clicking on any part of the assessment to be removed (e.g. its title or its abbreviation).

Bug fixes : 

1.  A fault occurred if you had some results for students taking a course, then you removed one or more students, then added them back again. In attempting to identify existing results for the student concerned, a fault occurred. This has been fixed.

2.  One school had a crash in attempting to add a standard where the domain name was longer than 50 characters. The maximum length of the domain has been increased to 80 characters.

Version 1.1.2  -  15th November 2006

Enhancements :   None

Bug fixes : 

1.  If you have more that 12 courses configured an error occurs when you click on the 'Courses' button.  This has been fixed.

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Return here from time to time to read about the latest enhancements.

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