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Advice please: Whole school assessment system/ pupil tracking

Discussion in 'Assessment' started by trenowth1, Oct 28, 2010.

  1. Any advice on this would be really helpful.
    I'm the assesment coordinator at a large primary school and we're on the hunt
    for a computer based assessment system which the whole school can use (and perhaps
    access online) for bringing up all their assessment data on pupils in their classes.(Our current system relies on various Excel spreadsheets etc which is inefficient and disorganised).
    Obviously we'd also like to use a system which can monitor pupil tracking/ target/ predictions
    etc.
    Does your school have a good system? Could you let me know of the pros/ cons?
    e.g. will it work with APP? Can we input reading/ spelling data which is not APP related?
    Can we upload PIPs and CATs onto the system?
    Any advice would be wonderful.
    Thank you!
     
  2. banjouk

    banjouk New commenter

    Hi,
    Your schools will have a management information system (MIS), the most common one being Sims so you may have come across this. If your schools is supported by your LA in using MIS, ring them up and ask them to come in and set up and then train on using tracking grids, matrices and reports that teachers can use in the classroom.
    In our LA all but 1 schools uses their MIS to submit 3 TA a year in reading, writing and maths 3 times a year to the data team. The LA then provides back a school and pupil based data report based on these assessments each term. A common assessment package that is imported into the schools MIS is also provided.


     
  3. banjouk

    banjouk New commenter

    Why pay twice?
    Schools already an management system that can more than do the job and is secure and backed up. Our LA provides this assesment support as part of the MIS support contract that schools purchase anyway.
    The amount of schools that buy these Excel based assessment programs then move back to their MIS after year or so. The outstanding primary schools in our authority all use their MIS in the classroom for assesment, and this good practice was noted in the report.
     
  4. T34

    T34 Established commenter

    What is often not realised by headteachers and others is that "Our LA" is not "<u>our</u>" LA at all.
    These apparently official local authority "IT departments" are in actual fact no more official and neither more nor less reputable than any other private business touting for schools' custom.
    They are expected to turn in a profit, they have their own product range. Some of them are actually quite openly run by private business. I don't know offhand whether any are actually managed by Capita (SIMS), but it sounds as though your "LA" IT company has such a close relationship with Capita that it is effectively part of the Capita organisation.
    As such, there is no more reason to follow "our LA" advice than you would that of any of the other multitudinous salesman trying to sell you his products.He advises what is best for him and that is not necessarily what is best for you.
    What you have to do when deciding on, for example, a pupil tracking system is to get <u>unbiased</u> advice as to which would suit you best.
    For the reasons given above, "our LA" is very unlikely to be unbiased. I don't think an employee would last long if they gave advice advocating some other system than the one on which the livelihood of the whole business depends.
    That would be like a Ford dealer advising you to buy a Toyota.
    It just doesn't happen.
    Translate that to the Ford dealer saying "We've had loads of customers who left us and bought Toyotas but they've all come back to us". That's what you'd expect him to say, wouldn't you.
    I would hazard a guess that the majority of "outstanding" primary schools in the nation do not use SIMS assessment manager 7 for pupil tracking, nor do they use the equivalent CMIS offering.
    And why implicitly assume the competition is Excel based? That's equivalent to the Ford dealer telling his customers that Toyotas run on steam.
    Have you looked at the reference I gave in my last post?




     
  5. banjouk

    banjouk New commenter

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    Our LA does not have a close relationship with Capita, on the contrary, just
    the opposite, but they do have a product that suits the needs of the majority
    of schools, although other schools use another product, schools can pick
    and choose.


    The only person &lsquo;touting for sales&rsquo; on this board is you (you don't happen
    to work for that company do you) my advice to schools is use what you already
    have paid for, and have to pay for.


    Every school in the country already has a management information system
    (Sims, RM, Serco, Bromcomm etc) which they pay a licence for with user support
    form their LA or the software supplier direct.


    If the working product is anything like the website then it would appear
    very amateurish, I used to write similar assessment products in Access/Visual Basic
    several years ago.



     
  6. T34

    T34 Established commenter

    I.e. make do with second best.
    I've too much respect for the time and labour of teachers to agree with your proposal.

     
  7. Oh my, that looks like a first year computing student's Visual Basic project. I'd prefer a spreadsheet to that! Interesting though, do you know any schools that use it? I'd very much like to speak to them abot heir experience. We too are looking for a better solution.
     
  8. Try taking a look at the devon tracker at www.schoolpupiltracker.co.uk
    We use this in our school and it really has made our life easier, especially for connecting everyone together. Cannot do spelling reading ages - but this is apparently on their improvement list.
    Great report writer - we went on training for this and it looks excellent - first year ever I am looking forward to writing my reports!
     
  9. We've been using the APP maths toolkit from modi learning. This only covers maths but is very easy to use, is incredibly cheap. Each teacher uses their own spreadsheet but they have a 'whole school' one that can be used to collate the data from time to time so acts as a data back-up as well. It also creates individual levels and targets for pupils and gives levels for each AT which is a nice extra. The biggest thing for us is that it comes with resources that have saved us loads of time producing and moderating as we can all use the same ones.
    Hope this is of help. Good luck.
     
  10. I've looked at this and it is very good - but it is an extra cost and the training costs mount up quite quickly. I also wonder about the security of the data being held offsite.
    I also wonder how I can link it to all the otther information I have about children in SIMS.net already - FSM, G&T, Looked after etc, without needing to continually upload data to the system.


     
  11. YesMrBronson

    YesMrBronson New commenter

    You won't need to link to FSM. Gove doesn't think it's a factor and wants schools to ignore it.
     
  12. try www.classroommonitor.co.uk, we use it and it has APP marksheets which make things much quicker, we use it accross the school as it also does our tracking and it's accessed on-line so I can take my work home with me yay! [​IMG]
     
  13. We use an excel spreadsheet, knocked up by a lady down the road who's good at that kind of thing. It does everything we want it to and if we find it does not she adds it.
    the lovely lady enters the data and manages the data base for us at a very reasonable price.
    Just find a excel wizz and do your own. Simms is not that good and we found it quite unstable.
    All the other products were megga bucks and took up lots of our time
     

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