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MIS Systems Thread, Making effective use of data held in an MIS in Technical; Having started a previous thread on the problems of getting data out of an MIS, I thought it worth starting ...
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    Making effective use of data held in an MIS

    Having started a previous thread on the problems of getting data out of an MIS, I thought it worth starting off another one - given that the original theme went through some interesting twists and turns.
    What I learnt from the thread was that there is enormous collective talent in this community for finding technical solutions to problems like exporting data. Even more encouraging to see is that support staff like IT Technicians and Exam Officers are getting much more involved in what the data means - i.e. interpreting performance information - to which there is much more than just setting target grades. Checking out 'Within School Variation' is a good starting point. I feel that an involvement in performance analysis is a key support function that really enhances the role of support staff. Any mechanisms, including third party tools, that make this easier to do should be welcomed.
    I mentioned previously our own work in this area where we produce a system that allows deeper analysis and research into performance data held in an MIS. We have now solved our previous problems of extracting data from SIMS using reports (which proved a bit hit and miss in some schools) with a remote service that extracts key data from a web link to a schools SIMS machine using a complex search algorithm.
    The only problems schools have had with this are to do with proxy servers or blocking by service providers, but most IT systems managers we have worked with have got around these problems fairly quickly. Where it works the service will create our data analysis toolbox in just 10 minutes, doing all of the August data crunching at the same time. We have about 140 secondary schools now using it.
    Just to say thanks to this forum and to encourage folk to get fully involved with data analysis - as it is a fast growing area and teachers really need support in getting on top of it.

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    Re: Making effective use of data held in an MIS

    Mike - sounds like a real neat solution. The problem with us techies is that we will want to learn from your success - can you get one of your team to post how this data is extracted to your remote service ?

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    Re: Making effective use of data held in an MIS

    well if teachers really need to get on top of it why don't they learn just like we do? why must we always have to do everything for them so that they can reap all the credit and get better pay and conditions.

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    Re: Making effective use of data held in an MIS

    The data extraction is done using a third party company that are experts at SIMS and a Capita Premier Partner. I dont really know how it works except that I know it has taken testing in a large number of schools to get it to cope with the many different situations that exist in the field. The advantage for us is that it is a maintained online service that doesn't require school visits, and technical issues are mostly resolvable via a telephone call.

    As to the support issue, I suspect that there is a wide variation in the job functions of support staff, but in the last few schools we have visited where their use of data is really blossoming there tends to be someone whose function has grown in that direction. Expertise in understanding and using performance data, coupled with a knowledge of ICT, is going to be sought after by progressive schools I suspect.

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