OK I Have To Admit Some Mistakes
by, 3rd February 2011 at 11:38 PM (1496 Views)
And I made a biggy!
This year we decided to set up SIMS Learning Gateway to comply with the 2010 Online Reporting requirements. These required us to provide a means of serving school reports to parents online for which Learning Gateway does perfectly. But as we roll into the close of the written reports cycle, there are lessons to learn.
First off I overestimated how much Assessment Manager can cope with. Figuring staff were used to it for single grades, it is terrible when it comes to written reports. Much feedback was left by our Heads of Year during the written report cycles that checking them takes too long and double clicking to open them is tedious. It is clear users want to read the information on the page and edit it as they read, preferably with all of a student's reports visible at once.
Next up was the importance of clear visual cues to tell staff what to do when filling in reports. To a technical person like myself and many users of EduGeek, CTRL+C and CTRL+V are taken for granted. We know how to use them, but give a member of staff a box missing the cut and paste buttons as seen in Assessment Manager and they may not know how to use it. The same with the multiple step saving process in Assessment Manager; Apply & Next then Save the marksheet, takes too long with too many clicks.
Reviewing was also an issue, with staff finding it difficult to review a year group's reports.
Lastly, home access is a must have as staff love to fill reports in at home (well, prefer may be the stronger word here ). If they can't for any reason, then you soon hear about it! Unfortunately our SLG server seems to hate Comment Aspects and runs slowly if too many are included. So never use too many of them on a marksheet being used in the web interface.
We went down the Assessment Manager route due to a mixture of good knowledge of how to set up advanced templates and the Published Documents feature still in the works when we were making plans. This year I will be taking a very close look at Profiles and seeing how we can implement that in place of Assessment Manager for next year's written reports. Until then, anyone who wishes to try Assessment Manager for anything beyond a gradebook is advised to tread lightly and consider if Profiles training will save hassle in the long run.
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