FAQs on Student Option Programme (SOP)


Q1. What are the basic steps in using SOP to allocate subjects to students ?
A: i. Major Settings - set the number of time blocks and the max number of subjects taken by students
ii. Student Particulars - enter or import students??information into the system
iii. Subject Information - select subjects that will be offered to students
iv. Distribute Student Option Form and Input Student Options - collect students' subject preferences and then enter or import into the system
v. Setup Subject Group & Constraints - specify the number of groups of each subject and any subject constraints required
vi. Generate and Maintain Time Block - arrange the subject groups into different time block either manually or by the system
vii. Prepare Student Academic Results - import student academic results as a reference when allocating subjects manually
viii. Maintain Student Allocation order - specify allocation order of students
ix. Allocate Subjects to Students - allocate subjects to students using different methods according to the allocation order
x. Reports - output relevant reports in different formats


Q2. Can I extract data from WebSAMS and import the data to SOP?
A: New updates of WebSAMS allow users to extract data as Excel files for SOP under the module "Data Management". Data includes student particulars and student academic results. The Excel files can then be directly imported to the new version of SOP.

Q3. What is the use of the field "Next Year Class" in the Student Particulars?
A: "Next year class" is required for SOP to print out students' individual timetables. It needs to be filled in when printing timetables.
Q4. Will the old student particulars be updated if a new excel file is imported to SOP?
A: If a new student particulars file is imported to SOP, all existing data will be replaced by the new data in the imported file.
Q5. How do I remove a subject in "Subject Information"?
A: Before removing a subject, the user should ensure that no students choose this subject as their option and then set the No. of group of this subject to zero. After that, the subject can be removed in Subject Information.
Q6. What is the use of the function "Teacher Constraint"?
A: The function of "Teacher Constraint" is to arrange the two subjects a teacher teaches into different time blocks during Time Block generation.
Q7. What is the use of "rank" in Student Particulars?
A: The rank in student particulars can be used to generate the allocation order of students.
Q8. What is the use of "Student Academic Results"? Can SOP allocate subjects to students according to "Student Academic Result"?
A: "Student Academic Results" provides a reference for the users to manually allocate subjects to students. However, students' subject allocation in SOP is based on the "Allocation Order" but not the "Student Academic Results".


Q9. Do students need to fill in all preferences from 1 to 10 if our school offers 10 subjects for students in S4? Can we allow students to fill in only the first 6 preferences?
A: SOP allows the number of preferences of each student to be fewer than that of the number of subjects offered. However, no duplicate preferences are allowed.

Time Block

Q10. How to calculate Number of Requests (NOR)?
A: Number of Requests is calculated according to the number of electives students need to take. For students who take 2 elective subjects, their first two options will be counted by NOR. For students who take 3 electives, their first three options will be counted. However, due to the reason of forbidden combination, for example, students cannot take Physics and Combined Science (Physics and Chemistry) simultaneously. If a student chooses Physics as option 1 and Combined Science (Physics and Chemistry) as option 2, NOR will count option 1, skip option 2 and count the subsequent option.
Q11. If a subject has more than one group, can the size of each group be different?
A: Virtual students can be created to fill in the places to reduce the group size (Video).
Q12. How many blocks of subjects can be set in SOP?
A: A maximum of 9 blocks can be set in SOP.
Q13. Under Time Block, Subject Group Setup interface, why the number of "Max Size"cannot be changed?
A: If you use SOP version 1.1.0 to open a database that was created by SOP version 1.0.0, you may find that when you change the max size of a group and save, the max size remains unchanged. In order to solve this problem, you can try to change No. of Groups of that subject to a bigger number, then change max size and save. The system should allow you to change the max size to the number that you want. Afterward, you can change No. of Groups back to the original value.


Q14. Can we use different methods to allocate subjects for different students?
A: Yes. The new version of SOP provides the function partial allocation that allows generating allocation results for different students using different allocation methods.
Q15. How can I use SOP to allocate either subject A or subject B but not both to a student?
A: Under "Subject Information" , set subject A and subject B as the same subject but with different MOI. SOP will not allocate the same subject to a student (e.g. PE & 體育), therefore, subject A and subject B will not be allocated to a student at the same time.
Q16. Can I allocate all students in a specified block?
A: Yes. The option "Compulsory Block" can be selected from the dialogue box of "Generate Allocation Result".
Q17. Can I use SOP to allocate M1or M2 of Mathematics?
A: Yes. You can set the School Based Subjects as M1 & M2 in the SOP. The SOP can allocate these "electives" to students accordingly.
Q18. Can Subject Allocation be performed without specifying students' allocation order?
A: If the allocation order of students is not specified, Subject Allocation can still be performed while student numbers will be used as the default allocation order.


Q19. How to calculate the overall Satisfaction Rate?
A: Example 1)
The satisfaction rate is calculated based on the best allocation result. For example, a student who takes 3 electives has selected the following options:
1 2 3 4 5 ...

Under these options, his best allocation should be BIO, GEOG and HIST. Thus, if the subjects BIO, HIST and CHEM are allocated to him, his satisfaction rate will be 66.7%.
The Overall Satisfaction Rate is calculated by taking the average of all students' satisfaction rate.

Example 2)
There are four students in which two of them take 2 elective subjects and the other two take 3 electives. For the first two students, their first two or three options are allocated; therefore, the satisfaction rate is 100%. For the third student, he needs to take 3 elective subjects but only two of his first three options are allocated, therefore, his satisfaction rate is 66.7%. For the fourth student who takes 2 elective subjects but only one of his first two options is allocated, his satisfaction rate is 50%. The overall satisfaction rate is the summation of each student's satisfaction rate divided by the number of students.

System Setting

Q20. How can I update the SOP?
A: If there are SOP updates, the SOP will be updated automatically when the program is started and the computer is connected to the Internet. The updated files can also be downloaded from the SOP website.
Q21. What can I do if I forgot the administrator password?
A: Backup the database, uninstall SOP and then install SOP again to set a new administrator password.

Personal Data Protection

Q22. How to protect the personal data of students when using the SOP?
A: Schools should ensure that only authorised programme user(s) is eligible to import and export personal data in SOP. The authorised programme user(s) should take appropriate measures to protect the sensitive information and to avoid data leakage.

Schools should also take all practicable steps to ensure that personal data held by SOP are protected against unauthorised or accidental access, processing, erasure or other unauthorised use.

Please visit the website of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data for further details of the six personal data protection principles: http://www.pcpd.org.hk/tc_chi/data_privacy_law/6_data_protection_principles/principles.html




2008 Education Bureau

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