Doing a hopefully similar job to you. Here are my tips:
- Learn as much as you can. There are lots of different modules in SIMS and it makes the software package considerably less daunting to look at.
- If you are using Assessment Manager, record what data goes into each Result Set + Aspect combination. I made a Excel sheet to refer to. The reason for this is if you use the same ResultSet + Aspect for a column in two different sheets for the same Year Group, data will get overwritten and it's best to document now instead of later! Best ask your manager about this when you start using it.
- If your on here you probably have some idea how to operate a computer. Ask your techs for how to troubleshoot simple login issues. They range from wireless connections failing to opening the drive SIMS is installed on to re-awaken the connection. This saves your time and theirs (just don't let the teachers know or they will ask you to fix it!)
- If supported by your LEA and their MIS department (like I am), have a chat with their SIMS Co-Ordinator. Ours is very helpful and after showing me some tricks in Assessment Manager, he offered to help me by EMail if I run into trouble while learning.
- Also check with your LEA if there are training courses running. These are NOT optional. They explain how to use the system and provide very useful training notes. I self-taught Nova-T6 with my LEA's notes and if you think SIMS looks scary, try opening looking at a screenshot of T6.
- Exporting Marksheets: If analysing the kids grades you will be doing this a lot. Open the Marksheet you want to export and at the top it has a button saying Export. Click the arrow next to it to choose an option to export the marksheet into Excel. Formatted has lots of restrictions on what data and formatting can be changed. Use unformatted if it is for your own use and, like me, you start chopping the spreadsheet up into bits.
- BACKUP! BACKUP! BACKUP! BACKUP! BACKUP! BACKUP! BACKUP! BACKUP! BACKUP! BACKUP! BACKUP your work. Encrypted if possible (don't lose the key!)
- Learning a bit about VBA macros can make long repetitive jobs get cut down to seconds of work.
- Residual = Progress Grade - Potential Grade
- Don't send High Priority messages through SIMS. Unless you want to annoy the hell out of someone with an extra loud system beep. If bored you can play "keepy up" with the message prompt that appears should someone send you one.
- Get plenty of sleep. Staring at the screen all day after 1am stints the previous night is bad for your concentration.
I would have more tips but see above point! Feel free to message me for advice and I can reply to you on my break.