Good. I'm not decrying the program. If your school uses a Word template then Ray's Learning allows you to use statement banks.
All I'm saying is that it's only a partial solution. From am individual teacher's point of view it might be a Godsend but is doesn't address collation checking and printing problems. A 'Proper' report system is about more than statements.
<-- SPAM REMOVED -->
Last edited by vikpaw; 28th March 2010 at 08:18 AM. Reason: SPAM
Ha ha, I've been racking my brains to remember how I did it last year. I knew I'd written it down somewhere. This year I plan to get one of the admin assistants to help me and make notes as we go along. Then she can do the lot next year Our biggest problem with ReportAssist is that we have 540 kids in 18 classes and 30+ teachers each teaching every year group.
Last edited by laserblazer; 8th April 2009 at 12:19 PM.
18 classes, 3 year groups and 540 kids might sound a lot, but think of 30 classes in 7 year groups with 1000 kids, for 4 report sessions per year. And imagine it run by a non-technical admin secretary.
For the secondary version you import two files from SIMS, the pupils and their classes and the teachers and their groups. Then it's just a click of a button and a file is made for each teacher, put on the server, and off they go. They can write on a workstation or download it to write at home. Each teacher gets just the kids he needs (although he can add if any are missing for some reason), and the process is pretty well instantaneous.
All the files are collected at the end with a single click, and then you've got all the reports for checking/printing in the database. Again, more or less instantaneous.
For the primary version you've got a bit more work - you've got to select the classes to give to each teacher, unless you've got all that on your SIMS, in which case it's like the secondary system.
All the files are put on the server and collected by the program from the server when they are finished.
Last edited by vikpaw; 28th March 2010 at 08:23 AM. Reason: Editing out some blatant spam
I would love to change but the HT bought ReportAssist without consultation and it's hard to get him to bite the bullet and let us get something else. I believe that RA did originally have a secondary school version but they just couldn't support it. The other difficulty is that the actual report writing bit isn't too bad and the teachers like it (after we completely rewrote the statement banks!) so they won't want to change either.
What happens if a memory stick is lost or a laptop stolen?
I assume both are encrypted?
With RA, it looks like the files are in an access database that passworded (a 2 min hack to 'crack') - it's then zipped - but renamed to something other than .zip - lol!
With ElementaryReports - it's compressed but not encrypted. If installed to the recommmended U3 smart memory sticks then they can have hardware encryption turned on - I think it's AES-256?
Don't know what PL report systems does with regard to encryption, etc...
With the Inform programs the teacher files are encrypted.
On their return they are stored in the (.mdb) database unencrypted (for speed of access).
The database is password protected, but as you say, that is not secure.
However, there is only one database and it is on the server so you can set strict permissions for it.
Our school uses R.A. 2008, I have never encountered such a crap programme in all my days of working with ICT. It has been the most problematic and troblesome package I have ever used.
If it crashed once it crashed 10 times. It wouldn't save and then lost the majority of the reports.
I hate the fact that the company hold you over a barrel by saying that you don't get support unless you have the most up todate package.
When trying to open the reports in work they wouldn't work, due to having typed them at home.
It was hell.
Surely there must be a better programme and company that offer better customer service than these Report Assist guys.
I've got to say that we have had a few issues with RA2009. Although the tech support have been extremely helpful, there were definite issues with doing reports this year. A teacher's file became corrupt on the server/client version, so all the teachers had to almost start again for their reports for that class. At other times, the work didn't quite save. It can certainly be a bit grumpy.
Next year, we will be going back to some sort of tick box system through Word. Or even Google Docs for multiple concurrent users. Or perhaps a custom Moodle module...
This is the final year we are using RA. *performs a little jig*
After one of the SMT lost all his reports and had to do them again and the annual issues of merging reports, it was decided to knock up our own simple template.
Looks like our new Dep. Head is going to push us the same way after I have got RA down to a fine art. The trick is to always import and export to a memory stick and to back up the report folder every time you plug it in. I've done that this time and it has saved me endless heartache.
On the subject of alternatives...
This (Classroom Monitor) is in one of my schools after they finally had their fill of Report Assist. It used to be a local app but I think they moved it to a SaaS style system which makes the issue of "I need this on my staff laptop" a thing of the past.
Perhaps most telling is that I haven't had any support calls about it... Report Assist on the other hand...
laserblazer (19th June 2009)
There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)