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MIS Systems Thread, Historical data in SIMS.net in Technical; Hi, we're looking at historical data in SIMS, specifically the different values a field has held over time, along with ...
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    Historical data in SIMS.net

    Hi, we're looking at historical data in SIMS, specifically the different values a field has held over time, along with the date changed and which user changed it. Has anyone else done this, and is there a "standard" way to do this or do I need to use the Business Objects interface or get some kind of third-party SQL solution to do it?

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    From what other people have said in the past it's pretty difficult to track changes and who made them. Unless it's a sims function to store that info' e.g. for assessment results and such like.
    So you'd be looking at going in the back end and looking at the SQL side i imagine, which is complicated.
    There are a few people looking at the business objects but by all accounts it's not that straight forward and documentation is limited.

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    It depends what historical data you want - i.e. tutor groups, assessment information, etc. - these can all generate the historical data through the .net reporting engine.

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    What I'm after is current teacher's assessment of grade against time - the information *is* stored in the system, as it can be viewed using SIMS. The catch is that it's not easily exposed!

    I'm hoping that I can get at it using business objects - I'm assuming that this is Capita's name for their data API rather than "you have to buy SAP to access the information"...

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    You can do it in assessment manager's report template - its quite straight forward; you could achieve it using the normal designing a report through the reporting engine! I've done in the past - it can be done!

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    i initially misunderstood what you wanted.

    results in assessment manager are available, but not as easily through reporting engine. if i understand correctly now, you want to see a particular aspects' history per child against a teacher's name. that isn't particular straight forward without lots of subqueries or lots of manual processing.

    i do look at historic grades, the rough and ready way is to right click on a cell and view history, all users can do this. to build up a picture, though i find it easier to use result sets and then create a review marksheet with all the result sets listed side by side.

    you can also do similar in an individual report and also specify return of results within date ranges.
    you can then view them by class, therefore by teacher.

    i don't know if that will help you...

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    MattMitchell (20th May 2009)

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    That does sound like it's along the lines of what I'll need! Although per-child and per-teacher views are useful, the key focus is a statistical overview of what's happening on an aggregated basis...

    The tricky thing is that I haven't used SIMS before and the only people at the school to teach me how to use it are non-technical users who haven't used it heavily before! I think some phone calls to support and some training are in order...

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    Quote Originally Posted by vikpaw View Post
    i initially misunderstood what you wanted.

    results in assessment manager are available, but not as easily through reporting engine. if i understand correctly now, you want to see a particular aspects' history per child against a teacher's name. that isn't particular straight forward without lots of subqueries or lots of manual processing.

    i do look at historic grades, the rough and ready way is to right click on a cell and view history, all users can do this. to build up a picture, though i find it easier to use result sets and then create a review marksheet with all the result sets listed side by side.

    you can also do similar in an individual report and also specify return of results within date ranges.
    you can then view them by class, therefore by teacher.

    i don't know if that will help you...

    Individual Reprots allow historic grades in Microsoft Word for a child ... E.g. The subject has 6 progress point throughout the year. We can use the progress points and see how they differ - this can be done on per child basis by inserting the result field and filtering that field in MS word to a particular date or result set. You can output to Ms Excel with graphs and compare historic dates as well IRC.

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    I've just found out today that it *is* possible - you create result sets to tag the aspect values for a certain point in time.

    I now just have to tag 5 year's worth of historical data now and then I'm done!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MattMitchell View Post
    I've just found out today that it *is* possible - you create result sets to tag the aspect values for a certain point in time.

    I now just have to tag 5 year's worth of historical data now and then I'm done!
    You don't have to have it in a result set [although it is wise to do so] - you can use the result date instead!! Hope that helps..
    Last edited by kiran; 21st May 2009 at 08:44 PM. Reason: Typo Errors!!

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    I've only just started in the post! Result sets we will have, believe me. Apart from being good practice, they're needed for robust reporting and tracking, and also make it possible to examine things like which teachers haven't put the marks in yet...

    It does look like SIMS can't do analysis reports on cross-tabulated data though (i.e. like pivot tables) so I'm still probably going to have to interface with it for some stuff.

    Or am I missing this - in other words, can you have something like a grid with different grades as column headings, class/set name in row headings, and count of records in each intersection?

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiran View Post
    You don't have it a result set [although it is wise to do so] - you can use the result date as well!! Hope that helps..
    Sorry, I misread you before! So I can have (for example) subject names as row headings, and then the dates of the results as column headings, with the grades at the intersections?

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    I'm sorry... my fault for thinking too fast before I can type. I've corrected it now!

    Matt, it really depends what and who want which data;

    -For example for a report to parents/students you can do want you want quite easily using 'Individual Report' function if you tracked them X number of times per year and wanted to show Jan Grade, Feb Grade, May Grade etc.

    -For staff wanting to compare this in a spreadsheet this is achievable using the templates function and displaying all aspects from different result sets or dates. You could then export to excel and do some conditional formating / filtering.

    Quote Originally Posted by MattMitchell View Post
    Sorry, I misread you before! So I can have (for example) subject names as row headings, and then the dates of the results as column headings, with the grades at the intersections?
    -For pivot tables my initial attempt was to do in excel. But you can now do it using the 'trend analysis' to output similar stuff with graphs!! There is also group analysis.

    I hope this helps... don't worry it will take time to get use to quirks of it - it is a complex system! The following may be useful http://www.boltonlea.org.uk/blog/ind...sment-manager/
    Last edited by kiran; 21st May 2009 at 09:02 PM.

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    Kiran seems to be pretty on the ball with all this. I've never used the Word filter function but it is possible, i tend to go for using result sets, you can put date ranges on them, but i tend not to.

    I only have result sets for first semester and second semester but at my last school we had gradings every term (6 per year).

    For sending home they go in a table with time / period along the top and subjects down the side. the template basically has every possible subject listed and if it's structured in a table then rows with no data can be omitted.

    For internal review you can make summary marksheets that list all grades, but for each term just have smaller ones for the teachers that only show the previous one and the current one that needs to be put in. Setting these up can take some time, though it's easier now that it used to be. Once done they are great and easy to re-use.

    How you name you aspects, and templates is quite important, to make setting up a little easier. if you can arrange the names of aspects to be alphabetically that's great. mine all start ks1 / ks2 / igcse / and then what type of grade or comment it is. it's almost worth if you want them in a particular order to prefix them with a letter thus: ks3 A effort grade, ks3 B attainment grade, etc.

    If you need any help or want to see some examples, just email me.

    I've not had a chance to use the analysis module yet, it is very powerful, though you can get pivot tables out with a bit of fiddling. There are some reports that you can clone that have them built in, and somewhere there is a document i'll have to dig it out, that explains really well how to embed them and all sorts of other functions and macros into an excel template. They will normally need some kind of editing each time you use them though as they tend to have lots of fixed variables like the number of rows they will process etc. It might just be easier to export the marksheet to excel and then manipulate manually on the fly, that's what i tend to do.

    As for you tagging option, it can be done in bulk based on which marksheet / template was used to add the data and possibly by looking at the result dates, it's always risky doing that, so you have to be careful, but i've used the tools quite a lot and never had any major issue.

    It's really handy to have a backup of the system. I have a virtual instance of sims that i do testing on, so that's definitely something i'd recommend you work on so if it all goes hairy, you've got a backup you can easily restore from. by restore i mean copy out / export the data you lost. The only other option on the live system is to do a full roll back to a previous nights backup and that involves everyone that worked on the system to lose data A nightmare when you use the finance module!

    i've attached a few pictures for you that i muddled together to show you the sorts of outputs we have, to word, and then in the summary marksheets including formulas to do data analysis. i can find some more if you want to see what we do.

    hope that helps.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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