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    Calculating a variety of % in SIMS

    Hello people!

    Perhaps a walk in the park for you guys but I'm looking for some idiot proof SIMS instructions here...

    I'm curriculum leader for Geography and we use SIMS as our whole school data entry system. At the start of each year in KS4 we generate an aspirational target grade for our students. In addition, three times a year we also generate a “progress check” grade, i.e. the grade they would get if they continued to work at their current level at that point in the year.

    In order to keep an eye on progress across the cohort and with each class it is in some ways helpful to compare the A*-G and A*-C % from the FTT data, Target grade and Progress check data that we generate.

    I then spend a few hours each time we do a progress check, calculating these different percentages and examining the state of play.

    I went to see our data manager today and asked her if SIMS could generate all these % ages for me automatically once the teachers have entered their data. She said that it was not possible for SIMS to be able to do this… Is that really correct? Someone I know mentioned that the procedure can be achieved and that it involves the "Performance Analysis" module and I need a report that can be set up in the 'Aspects' stage.

    As a SIMS novice this means very little to me... Would anyone be able to provide an idiot guide to what I'm after?

    Thanks in anticipation,

    Simon

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    Very strange!

    We are just in the process of doing this. We have set up monitoring for KS4 and are now looking at KS3 using FFT data and the end of KS3 predictions from county (based on their levels at Primary school).

    Where are you based?

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    I went to see our data manager today and asked her if SIMS could generate all these % ages for me automatically once the teachers have entered their data. She said that it was not possible for SIMS to be able to do this…
    Despite having more and more to do with SIMS as part of my job, I still don't have much of a handle on it overall as a system, so anything I suggest might not be the best way of doing things. However: can you define a report(s) in SIMS to show you the data you want to work with? If so, you can export that data from SIMS into a spreadsheet and do whatever you like with it there. The best approach might be to define a report to use over and over, then save the output from that in a set location and have a spreadsheet pick that data up and do stuff with it. This way you could update your figures and graphs simply by running a report and exporting a file.

    You might find that the data needs a bit of work before it fits nicely into a spreadsheet. SIMS has a command-line utility that can output data from reports as XML, allowing for easy scripting. I've got our SIMS database to synch with our LDAP server using this approach, you could adapt this to have something automatically process data from SIMS and turn it into a bunch of nice numbers for a spreadsheet to turn straight into a pretty graph.

    We need similar functionality to yourself - the school spent two or three weeks over the summer messing around with spreadsheets and not getting very far. I'm planning to ask at Capita's stand at BETT tomorrow as to what's available to do this kind of thing, if the answer is too expensive I guess I'll be writing the alternative myself before this summer.

    --
    David Hicks

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    I'm not sure but you may be better off reading the Performance PDF manual which might get you started - it can be found in Program Files Directory - usually C:\Program Files\Sims\Sims.net\Performance.PDF

    Alternatively you could export the Assessment Manager aspect for the whole cohort to Excel and add columns with you % calculations and then import back in again!

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    Smile % in SIMS

    Hi Simon
    Yes, you can use Performance Analysis to do this. You will need to use an Aspect Analysis I believe and then generate a column pattern to give you your A*- C and A* - G etc, in fact any combination you require. This would be a cohort level.
    If you want individual aggregations then you will need to use Assessment Manager. There are loads of excellent formulae that you can use.
    Hope that helps a little. I realise it is not exactly 'idiot proof' instructions. Would need a bit more info on exactly how you want to handle the data.
    Mags

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    Fantastic! Thank you all for your speedy and helpful responses, given me plenty to have a play around with!

    Squirrel, I'm in Leicester school!

    David - Do let me know how you get on at BETT

    Thanks once again people,

    Simon

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    I've not had time to play with perf' analysis module yet, though have seen it working and it is capable of plotting trend lines and doing the comparisons.

    The simplest percentages are available from a marksheet in Assessment Manager, when you right click on the column heading in gray at the top and then select "show grade distribution" this shows you both the raw number of entries at each grade and also the percentages both individually and cumulative.

    We just read the cumulative scores (i.e. A*-G, A*-C) off that table. If you want you can export that table to Excel with the click of a button. Job Done. You could then play around with it there and plot against FFT if you choose to.

    Don't forget, by pressing the summary button you can get average scores and marks at the bottom, and if you do an unformatted export then that data also comes into Excel.

    We use percentages on the raw data entered by teachers and also on the differences to the aspirational targets. For that, again, i prefer Assessment Manager, with a quick export to Excel to do the calculations and then a re-import.

    All you need is to have aspects set up to hold the data you will create yourself, for example the percentages. We use aspects to store the differences from progress grade to aspirational, one for each checkpoint (we do one a term).

    Then you set up a marksheet with the data you do hold i.e. the grades, and alongside add the columns for the data you will calculate yourself.

    Apply the marksheet to the year group in question and do an export. The file comes into Excel, you can unprotect it from the Tools menu and then apply whatever formulas you like, just don't play around with the ordering of columns or the formatting at all and you'll be able to reimport your calculated data.

    It is actually possible to set up the columns with formulas to do it within sims for you, but i decided against it as it's still not possibly to copy and paste formulas. So for every comparison for every progress grade for every subject for every year group etc. etc. you get the picture it takes ages!

    TIP: For KS4: We use a '+' character for an A* as that is what FFT supply and capital letters for grades, so when i import the data it is easier to match their symbols. When comparing the columns, to get the right differences you first have to do a find and replace the '+' with a '@'. This then makes the difference calculation accurate.

    Once your data is re-imported back in, you can just show the grade distribution as described above. Also, you can apply your marksheet to any custom group, e.g. form groups, class groups or custom groups and see the distribution within sets like that for more detailed analyses.

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