School Reporting Suite

Saving Teachers Time

Tag: tool

Can You Really Scrap A-E Grades and Reporting

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There is a requirement for schools of all types in the UK to have Ofsted compliant systems of assessment, tracking and reporting.

The way that education is measured and reported is an area where professional opinions can differ significantly.

In the UK schools are bound to track, assess and report pupil progress in line with the national curriculum; however there are some schools outside of the UK that are trying a different reporting system.

One such experiment is taking place in Australia where Nossal High School has removed grades from its reporting because they found parents and students were giving them too much attention and missing out on important feedback.

The Assistant principal, Sue Harrap said she felt that the previous mandatory reporting style left teachers feeling “boxed in”.

Instead students and teachers contribute to the new report cards and rate the student’s knowledge, skills, participation, reflection and study habits.

The tracking and assessment reporting system that the school is using is published to families four times a year and contains more information that a traditional grade focussed report.

Importance of Assessment Tracking In The UK

The experiment in Australia highlights the benefits of bespoke assessment and measurement in the participating schools. In the UK the national curriculum means that schools are obligated to measure and track certain endpoints and monitor progress.

However, for schools looking for additional flexibility due to an alternative measurement of success or those operating within faith curriculums, bespoke school reporting can allow for a higher level of visibility and engagement.

This can improve the communication and reporting between education managers, teachers, parents and the students themselves.

Although the UK curriculum does not allow for the following of the model being adopted in parts of Australia, there is certainly some validity into looking at how school reporting can better serve those involved.

How Would Your School Handle A Digital Detox

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Digital technology has taken over our lives in recent years.

The invention of smart phones and the mobile internet and Wi-Fi infrastructure that has grown to support them means that we can be online virtually anywhere.

One generation that the digital revolution has affected the most are school age children.

There are now generations of children growing up that are digitally native, they have never lived in a world where information and communication was not at their fingertips 24/7. Children are drawn to technology from an early age and it seems to come naturally to them.

Teens in the UK, like most everywhere else in the world, are incredibly digitally literate. Smartphone adoption is sky high and by 2013, 8 out of 10 UK teens had a smart phone, using it for browsing the web, playing games and using social media.

Young people are estimated to be only for 27 hours a week and there is concern that is too much and children are becoming dependent on being connected.

Last week the BBC put together an interesting experiment to see how high school students would cope with a weeklong digital detox.

Digital detox refers to a period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic connecting devices such as smartphones and computers. It is regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress or focus on social interaction in the physical world.”

It was insightful to see how the students use the technology and how different their experience of the world is to their parents.

All quite endearing it shows just how important digital has become in the behaviours of the next generation. This will affect how they respond to how they find and absorb information and how they communicate with each other.

School Assessments A Review Of 2015

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Last year saw significant changes in the way that children are assessed and how pupil progress is monitored.

The biggest shift of the last few years has been the move to stop using the levels system to measure pupil progress. These levels had been in place for a generation and their removal is a step into the unknown compared to the structure they provided.

This has put pressure on schools to make sure that they are accurately measuring pupil progress in a changing political and assessment environment.

This is something that we are working with schools to implement using our customisable assessment and reporting system to ensure that schools have the information they need to accurately monitor pupil progress.

The other significant change has been the introduction fo the new reception Baseline assessment. Although it is not yet a statutory requirement, the majority of schools have opted in.

This is primarily so they get some flexibility in how the progress of children from this measure is defined. For those that opted in pupils are measured on either the results attained or the progress made by the end of Key Stage 1.

For schools that have opted in then when they come on board pupils will solely be judged on what they have attained.

Moving forwards into 2016 we can expect to see more uncertainty and potential changes to the way achievement is monitored and reported within schools.

Already we have seen the announcement of times table testing for pupils as they leave Key Stage 1 and there will be speculation as to other yardsticks of progress the government may wish to measure across different age groups in the future.

At Aspiring Panda we will keep in line with the latest standards and ensure that those using our School Reporting Suite have the tools they need to do the job of teaching moving forward.

Overcoming The School Reporting Challenge

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At Aspiring Panda the developers of the School Reporting Suite, we passionately believe that our reporting solution can help improve a number of different aspects of the school reporting challenge.

Our proprietary pupil assessment, tracking and reporting system is designed to overcome the challenges of even the most dynamic teaching environments that many other solutions do not.

Configured To Any Curriculum

With so many different types of schools and curriculum across the world, we have developed our system to be configured to work with any curriculum grading scheme. If there is more than one curriculum being followed, this can be done within one system rather than having to be operate two independently of each other.

We provide the schools the training and support they need to implement an easy to use system that suits their requirements.

Supports Multiple Languages

With schools particularly those that are faith based communicating in more than one language, we have developed our system to allow users to toggle between different languages with ease.

This can help schools manage multiple curriculums and communicate effectively with parents.

Custom Reporting Design

To overcome the school reporting challenge, we let schools access the information they want to see in the format that works best for their needs. This means that teachers and senior management can access the information they want to see, displayed in the way they want to see it in real time.

This increases engagement with the information and can make identifying trends and areas that require attention easier to identify.

Can Be Accessed By Teachers From Anywhere

With our cloud solution teachers can access and update their pupil reports from anywhere with an internet connection. This allows teachers to manage their time more effectively, particularly wif they are taking their marking home or getting some work done when the school is closed.

This flexibility is extremely popular with users of the School Reporting Suite.

The Six Week Summer Holiday Myth

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We work with many different schools operating on different models and curricula and they all tell us that the most stressful and important times in the school calendar is the end of year exam and reporting period.

Thankfully this is now at an end and schools up and down the country have been coming to the end of their school year and starting the long summer break.

Yet as the children leave and the school gates are locked behind them, teachers, management and administrative staff are already thinking of next year.

Whilst we do not want to ruin the first weeks of holiday for the teachers reading, we acknowledge that whilst there is time to relax and recharge. We all know the “six week summer holiday” for teachers is a myth, some of you may even be reading this from your school or classroom as you opt to do as much as you can at the start of your holiday.

The changing curricula means that time saving planning from years gone by may need tweaking or rewriting entirely. In a rapidly changing and high pressure education system, There is planning, preparation and action to be taken to get ready for another physically and mentally demanding school year.

The ongoing pressures on teachers are something we are aware of at School Reporting System and we are working hard to ensure that where possible we can make the bit after the summer as easy to manage as possible from a reporting perspective.

We know that when implemented our solutions can save administrators and teachers alike time by making the reporting process easier and increasing the ease of performance tracking and report generation.

Giving teachers more time and less admin is our goal and in the meantime we wish the hardworking educators of Britain happy holidays.

 

Technology Is Intertwined With Teaching

 

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Since the invention of the abacus, technology has been shaping the way children are educated. Things have changed a little since ancient times, with recent advances in technology happening at a staggering rate.

It is only 30 years ago that computers started to be commonplace in schools. Yet, now they are an indispensible teaching tool. This is not only due to the access to information they can give children of all ages, but also has to do with the central role that technology plays in the lives of students, both now and in the future.

We now live in a digital economy. As a result, the ability to use technology effectively will be a key tool for students once they finish their studies and begin looking for a job.

This means that technology needs to be intertwined with the way that children are educated. Schools are adapting quickly, with more than 70% of schools giving pupils access to tablet computers during the learning process.

In nearly 10% of schools, each student has their own tablet device. Between 2014 and 2016, the number of tablet computers in schools is expected to rise from about 430,000 to almost 900,000.

What Next

Technology is going to continue to evolve. The challenge for schools will be to continue to adapt to get the best results for children. In an article for the BBC, Dr Clarke of the University of Cambridge spoke about the role of technology and how it will evolve:

“The type of device might change, but it’s not going to go away. It will almost seem ridiculous if some of them are not using technology,” she said.

Moving forwards, the challenge is always going to be finding the balance between adopting technology and keeping the focus on knowledge. This is particularly salient given the distraction that technology can provide, which is something that has had some senior figures in education wanting to discuss the banning of mobile phones and even iPads in schools.

Tip of The Week – Coping With School Reporting Season

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As the weather gets better and the summer break creeps into view, it brings mixed blessings; for one thing pupils can be harder to motivate as they drift into holiday mode. Then, of course, there are the reports to write.

Traditionally, reporting is a time consuming and laborious task, that involves scouring through previous tests, reports, and notes in order to put together more than 20 reports. These need to be typed up, checked, reviewed, and amended before they get anywhere near a parent.

This produces stress, long hours, and is enough to test the patience and will of even the most driven and experienced of teachers.

The process of writing reports can vary widely from school to school: some rely on the traditional paper based model, whilst others look to cloud based software to manage pupil tracking and report generation.

Regardless of what system your school uses, we asked our resident teacher to give us their top tip on how to cope with the school reporting season.

The tip they gave revolves around having the tools to hand to craft unique and engaging reports with a little help from a structural crib sheet.

Have a crib sheet of useful comments to hand

Parents want to know how their children are getting on in a clear and easy to understand way. Next to the CTRL – C copy shortcut embedded in your brain, having a list of useful comments in your mind can save time and add depth to your reports.

These key phrases could include things like “grasps new concepts quickly”, or has a “lively imagination”, which help paint a picture of the child’s progress.

If you are still struggling for ideas, we found this inspiring and quirky book on “how to survive the first year of teaching” which has useful tips even for those whose first year of teaching was long ago.

3 Ways SRS Can Save Teachers Time

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Regardless of the idealised image that those outside the profession may have, we all know that despite the rewards, teaching can be a challenging vocation.

Teachers need to work within a supportive environment, where they can develop their skills, feel valued, and transfer this into a positive teaching environment.

One of the ways that schools can do this is to ensure that their teachers have the tools they need to succeed. These can be tools that make it a little easier to perform admin, to track progress, and to communicate effectively with the different stakeholders in their role – such as parents, pupils, and the management team.

SRS Reduces Report Admin Time

One way that SRS can support teachers is by making the admin involved in student performance tracking simpler and easier to monitor and manage. The system can be cloud based, which allows teachers to update it from any device in any location. This also means that teachers can access the system outside of school hours, as it is conveniently available 24 hours a day.

SRS Enhances Tracking

The SRS system allows for results and progress to be tracked for classes and individual children in line with the school curriculum, whether that is a national curriculum or one bespoke to the school or faith.

On the back of this, reports can be generated on an individual student basis, which in time provides a powerful analytical tool.

SRS as a Communication Tool

Using our cloud based system, reports can be submitted to management for review electronically, and comments added that can then be incorporated, saving time and effort at both ends. We have also received great feedback from parents about this service.

When you think back to your schooldays, you may remember being given a school report in an envelope which you nervously handed to your parents hoping the news was good. This was a long process for review, and getting comments back from parents could take time.

Using our cloud based system, reports can be sent to parents electronically and comments – but not amendments – added to the document and sent back.

Both of these tools mean that SRS is a powerful step forward in the way reporting is tracked and communicated in an educational environment.