Useful Documents

Sample data files

This zip file contains two CSV spreadsheets, which contain data of 100 students of year 3. The file names start with "Year 3", which indicates to the system that the students belong to year 3. The student names are computer-generated. The files contain the data needed for following class allocation requirements:

  • Friendship
  • Academic levels mixed
  • Gender balance
  • Keeping students studying the same secondary language together
  • Some students cannot be in the same class

These sample data files are used in the Quick Start and user's manual. You can use it and follow the Quick Start and finish the whole class allocation process within an hour.

You can directly upload this zip file into the system, or you can unzip it and upload the two spreadsheets.

Since the sample file names start with "Year 3", you have to login as year-3 teacher to upload these files. If you want to use it on year 4, for example, just rename the "Year 3" part in the file names to "Year 4". Apart from changing the year number, DO NOT RENAME THE CSV FILES IN ANY WAY, because the system follows certain requirements to validate the file names rigorously. If the naming does not conform to the requirements, the system will reject the files. Refer to the user's manual for the naming convention. The user interface where you upload data files also tells you what file names you should use.

Download sample student data

Download sample student data with students attached to teachers and houses

Teacher's Pet Quick Start

It is both a complete overview of Teacher's Pet and a quick start guide, with plenty of screen shots and not much text. Following this guide, using the sample student data files, you can go through the whole class allocation process within an hour. After that, you will have confidence in this product, and appreciate how intelligent the algorithm is. You can then delete all sample data in a few clicks, and start to use the system to do real stuff, following the more comprehensive user's manual (downloadable below after you login) step-by-step.

View & Download

Teacher's Pet User's Manual

Teacher's Pet User's Manual introduces every aspect of the Teacher’s Pet portal in most details. Everything is introduced using screen shots, so it is easy to read and understand.

This manual is a reference book. It is not meant to be read from cover to cover. You can search for a topic easily in the index. Each topic is self-contained and complete, and only one or two pages long.

This manual is written to follow the sequence of the steps that a teacher needs to follow to create class lists. So a teacher reads the first section to do the first step, then the next section to do the next step, and so on.

Chapter “Administering the School Account” introduces the account administrative tasks, such as registering a new school account, adding new users and paying subscriptions.

Chapter “Step 1: Picking the Class Allocation Criteria” introduces the first step to create class lists – to pick the class-allocation requirements. It also introduces how to create different class lists for different events during the school year, such as camping.

Chapter “Step 2: Entering Student Data” introduces the second step to create class lists – to enter student data into the system. The data are needed by the system to do the class allocation.

Chapter “Step 3: Creating the Class Lists” introduces the third step to create class lists – to do the class allocation and control the outcome using weightings assigned to the class-allocation requirements.

The user's manual is only available for download after you log in.

How-To Videos

Registering a school and paying subscription (6 minutes)
It takes about the same time for you to actually finish this process.

End-to-end process to create your class lists (18 minutes)
This video demonstrates the simple three steps to create your class lists from end to end:
Step 1: Select the class-allocation requirements that applies to your school - friendship, academics, behaviour, etc.
Step 2: Enter the student data needed by the algorithm to do the class allocation.
Step 3: Create the class lists, change the weightings/priorities of each requirement to fine tune the outcome.
It takes about the same time for you to actually finish this process.

Using the weightings of requirements to control the outcome (10 minutes)
While the previous video demonstrates the end-to-end process of creating your class lists, this video provides an in-depth view on how the innovative algorithm works. You will appreciate how intelligent algorithm is, and understand how to slide the slider bars to adjust the weightings of the requirements, to fine-tune the class lists created by the algorithm.


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    When do you need Teacher's Pet?

    If you are a very small school, and you don't have other class-allocation requirements to consider, such as academic level, behaviour, exclusions..., then you probably don't need Teacher's Pet. For example, to allocate 40 students into two classes, even if you mix them randomly, on average each student will still h ave two or three friends, with few or even no students being left friendless.

    However, if you have more than two classes, especially if you also have other requirements to consider, then the benefit of Teacher's Pet becomes tremendous. The bigger the school, the bigger the benefit.

    For example, when you are allocating 200 students into eight classes, to do it randomly, on average each student will have less than one friend, with close to 100 students left friendless. However, if you use Teacher's Pet, each student can have two to four friends, with no student left friendless.

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    The learning curve

    With features, comes complexity. Teacher's Pet has a lot of flexibility and can do almost everything that a teacher ever wants to do when it comes to dividing students into groups following certain requirements. So it does have a minimum level of complexity.

    If you are technology savvy, you may be able to use it straight-away without any prior learning, just like Josh Brewer, the first teacher to use Teacher’s Pet from end to end. If you are not, we recommend you to use the sample data and follow the Quick Start to go through the class allocation process. During your first use, to follow the user's manual step-by-step.

    Otherwise, if you start without any prior learning, you may get stuck on places where other informed users find easy and straight-forward, thus end up spending a lot more time than the recommended learning time.

    After a user has gone through the whole process, he/she will realize how simple and intuitive the whole process is. An experienced user takes less than five minutes to finish the end-to-end process: from the very beginning - picking the requirements and creating the classes, to uploading the data files, to the very end - finishing the class allocation. This does not include the time students spend to pick their own friends on Teacher's Pet.

    The biggest work load is to get the students into the system. Once they are in the system, next year they don’t need to be re-entered. Just change a few values, for example a student’s academic level may have changed from last year. The whole process can be done in an hour’s time.

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    Our school used Teacher's Pet last year. What do we do this year?

    Suppose you are a grade 3 teacher. The students you entered as grade 3 last year will remain grade 3 students in our system this year. But obviously now they have become grade 4 students, and you have a new batch of grade 3 students now. So you can download the old grade 3 students into spreadsheets, in a single mouse click, and provide these spreadsheets to the grade 4 teacher. The downloaded file will have a name like

    "Year 3 - Creating classes for the new school year - student data.csv"

    Then you can delete all the students from grade 3, again in only a few mouse clicks, to make space for the new/current grade 3 students.

    The grade 4 teacher should first rename the CSV files you gave him/her from "Year 3 - ..." to "Year 4 - ...". Then, he/she may need to edit some columns in the spreadsheets, because, for example, the academic level of the students have changed. The easiest way is to edit the spreadsheets using Excel, then upload the edited spreadsheets into the system when logged in as grade-4 teacher. The alternative is to upload the files first, then use Teacher's Pet user interface to edit the students.

    If the grade 2 teacher is as kind as you are, he/she will give you the spreadsheets containing the old grade 2 students, which are now your students, and you can do the same thing as the grade-4 teacher.

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    How does a school admin access the student data?

    The school admin can simply assign him/herself the teacher's role to the grade which he/she wants to access, then login as the teacher in that grade.

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