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MIS Systems Thread, 2010 - Not long now... in Technical; Originally Posted by beeswax We've been using Bromcom's My Child at School for about 6 weeks now. It pulls all ...
  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by beeswax View Post
    We've been using Bromcom's My Child at School for about 6 weeks now. It pulls all the relevant info from SIMS.
    I bet it was quite expensive

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    Om Bromcom's MCAS

    Quote Originally Posted by beeswax View Post
    We've been using Bromcom's My Child at School for about 6 weeks now. It pulls all the relevant info from SIMS.
    We're having a few problems with how this and SIMs are communicating - they're not affecting many parents, but it is irritating.
    On the plus side, the parents that can get in think it's great. Staff do too - even though they can't see it and they do get pulled up about inconsistencies/gaps in their registers more often.

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    Quote Originally Posted by steele_uk View Post
    Did a search and didn't see this rearing its ugly head lately.

    This is like a train wreck waiting to happen here. Our registers look fantastic, ( after they have been tidied a week later).

    So, what are your plans?

    1 .What product are you going to use to publish your data to parents?

    2. How confident are you that the attendance data is accurate. ( In real time )


    3. What data do you plan to publish in the early stages - AM/PM reg, all lesson attendance, behaviour?

    Finally i haven't found a document from the DCSF that explains exactly what schools will legally be obliged to publish. Can anyone point me to anything?

    Cheers
    1. We will likely write our own system, if forced
    2. Confident it is inaccurate
    3. Will publish nothing that has not been already "Processed" into a sensible format - We feel providing information without context is inviting problems.

    As far as I read, the requirement for realtime access was scrapped. I also suspect the whole initiative may be dropped, or at least made not mandatory.

    These things tend to dissapear on their own, if you hang back and let other schools/orgs spend the money and end up with a costly mess.

  4. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by klawd View Post
    1. We will likely write our own system, if forced
    2. Confident it is inaccurate
    3. Will publish nothing that has not been already "Processed" into a sensible format - We feel providing information without context is inviting problems.
    1. I'm toying with the roll-your-own aspect,as it's my background; however a few schools in our LA are using SLG, and there's a convincing case for basing things around a package that will have strong LA support (creation of templates, standardised schemes, etc) and also that a successor in post can handle if you fall off your perch or run to another job/school/country.
    2. Received wisdom is that most schools have at least one inaccurately recorded register group with probability P = 1 * y^2 (where y is equal to 1 on days ending with a y...)
    3. I think it's a question of how you interpret the information, and how you present it to parents in a clear, jargon-free way. Attendance data is (IIRC) meant to be shown, but presumably "Your child has attended 80 out of 100 days so far this year" would be a better bet than "Your child isn't in Maths but then everyone knows <$mathsteacher> forgets to take the register".

    Quote Originally Posted by klawd View Post
    As far as I read, the requirement for realtime access was scrapped. I also suspect the whole initiative may be dropped, or at least made not mandatory.
    Are you sure on this? I know that the timetable for primary schools is a lot longer; I did get the impression that the actual reporting requirements haven't been formalised yet (hey, it's not like it's next year or anything...) so maybe the specifics will change.

    The push for parental engagement seems qutie strong still, but the MIS developer guidelines mention termly progress summaries for parents as "desirable", so maybe full realtime isn't expected. I'm aiming things at a realtime = last known good setup, where any summary or analysis will display things up to the last collection point (termly, yearly, etc, depending on the scenario).

    I think the uptake of VLEs will push realtime-realtime reporting forwards though: it won't look good if you can see live assessment results and targets from a VLE, but the latest teach assessment is over two terms old. Where parents *are* directly engaging, I think this will make realtime happen in a lot of schools anyway.

    My main concern is that the data in the system is current and accurate; maybe if parents can see the information teaching staff record in the system live, it will force staff to enter data in a timely and accurate fashion! ;-)

  5. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by MattMitchell View Post
    1. I'm toying with the roll-your-own aspect,as it's my background; however a few schools in our LA are using SLG, and there's a convincing case for basing things around a package that will have strong LA support (creation of templates, standardised schemes, etc) and also that a successor in post can handle if you fall off your perch or run to another job/school/country.
    2. Received wisdom is that most schools have at least one inaccurately recorded register group with probability P = 1 * y^2 (where y is equal to 1 on days ending with a y...)
    3. I think it's a question of how you interpret the information, and how you present it to parents in a clear, jargon-free way. Attendance data is (IIRC) meant to be shown, but presumably "Your child has attended 80 out of 100 days so far this year" would be a better bet than "Your child isn't in Maths but then everyone knows <$mathsteacher> forgets to take the register".
    I think you have a good point, we were waiting for the LA to get something together, which seems to be taking forever, and since they don't appear to be that bothered in implementing, neither were we. There are data protection and access issues I would rather someone else deal with, with direct access to information.

    Quote Originally Posted by MattMitchell View Post
    "Your child has attended 80 out of 100 days so far this year"
    On its own that information is not very useful. What happened to the other 20 days?
    Context is important.


    Quote Originally Posted by MattMitchell View Post
    Are you sure on this? I know that the timetable for primary schools is a lot longer; I did get the impression that the actual reporting requirements haven't been formalised yet (hey, it's not like it's next year or anything...) so maybe the specifics will change.
    I'm not 100% sure. But I can see real issues with how realtime data would be collected. I have seen nothing yet that convinces me this would be possible on a large scale. (Our SIMS server is slow enough with 20 users, let alone access by possibly 1000+)

    Quote Originally Posted by MattMitchell View Post
    The push for parental engagement seems qutie strong still, but the MIS developer guidelines mention termly progress summaries for parents as "desirable", so maybe full realtime isn't expected. I'm aiming things at a realtime = last known good setup, where any summary or analysis will display things up to the last collection point (termly, yearly, etc, depending on the scenario).
    The problem of "parental engagement" is not a technological one however, and making a mountain on information available is unlikely to solve that.

    Quote Originally Posted by MattMitchell View Post
    I think the uptake of VLEs will push realtime-realtime reporting forwards though: it won't look good if you can see live assessment results and targets from a VLE, but the latest teach assessment is over two terms old. Where parents *are* directly engaging, I think this will make realtime happen in a lot of schools anyway.
    One thing I have noticed, is that the way schools report and what they report seems to vary quite a lot. When you have teachers arguing over what a level or sub level means, I find it hard to imagine a parent accepting or understanding a particular grade. Of course, this happens now to some extent, but opening up the data, also opens the floodgates to parents asking for justification on every point of data. I can't see teachers having the time or inclination to explain such details.

    I can see the value in making reports available online (scrapping paper copies etc), and its something we hope do, in a very reduced format. But making things such as behaviour records available is a total no-go. Those records are not intended for parents direct consumption.

    Quote Originally Posted by MattMitchell View Post
    My main concern is that the data in the system is current and accurate; maybe if parents can see the information teaching staff record in the system live, it will force staff to enter data in a timely and accurate fashion! ;-)
    "Timely" and "Accurate" and not something I see teachers that worried about.

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    Klawd, I recommend that you get a health check on your server (unless its on its last legs) SIMS is not slow in any of the schools I visit.

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    SIMS.

    Sept. 2010 is ages away.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilNeal View Post
    Klawd, I recommend that you get a health check on your server (unless its on its last legs) SIMS is not slow in any of the schools I visit.
    We've got a slight speed issue on our site - some reports can take minutes to open, and admin staff report the same "lock-up" problem sometimes on editing single records, although I do realise this can be a subjective thing. Our SQL server is quite substantial, but I'm going to have a look at the hardware side with ICT this term and look at bandwidth and profiling memory usage.

    I'm presuming that SLG would run on an application server, with one queue on that end communicating with the RDBMS, rather than opening multiple connections as the number of web clients increases. Most apps that scale do that, and I'm assuming SIMS does the same!...

    Quote Originally Posted by Klawd View Post
    There are data protection and access issues I would rather someone else deal with, with direct access to information.
    Becta are still ruminating on the whole authentication issue - whether to go with Government Gateway or [URL=http://www.ukfederation.org.uk]UK Access Management Federation[/QUOTE] in order to provide seamless single-sign on (feel the buzzword power!). Certainly I would prefer a solution that allows authentication from a robust, accepted and officially sanctioned provider rather than knocking up my own scheme in Perl and praying that I meet the LA/DCSF official policy. The general impression I get from ICT is that if we have to have it, the LA will provide a solution and (hopefully) fund it. Certainly we get our SIMS support there, and this includes a lot of support in terms of data services, template creation for TAs, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Klawd View Post
    When you have teachers arguing over what a level or sub level means, I find it hard to imagine a parent accepting or understanding a particular grade.
    Like the attendance information, I think this kind of thing has to be provided to parents in context - we're looking at other schools' models on things like termly/annual reports and the communication of "on target"/"above target"/"below" rather than a stark emphasis on numbers. Even teachers who are used to reviewing the grades and forming judgements seem to prefer the visual clues of traffic lights, and I think that something along these lines (but simpler maybe) could work.

    I think a lot of this will get easier once the 21st Century Schools report card consultation is finished, as at least this will give an indication of the direction things are likely to take; similarly it looks like they're putting together a replacement for KS3 SATs and a target-setting framework and you know these are going to have implications for all the direct access stuff...

    Overall, I think allowing parents to see at least some information is a Good Thing; we just have to make sure it's in a clear context with clear explanations and as little educational jargon as possible!

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    Matt,
    Have you seen SLG in action?
    If not then I suggest you do. It will be even better when the Upgrades promised by the SLG Roadmap are delivered.

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    I've downloaded the brochures and case studies and one of my jobs for today is to try out the live demo for it! I'm a little concerned about the licencing costs associated (sharepoint server, maybe changing web server platform, etc) but it'll be interesting to see what SLG can do; and to be honest, a solution that *doesn't* require me to develop and maintain the nuts and bolts has a lot of appeal...

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    Quote Originally Posted by MattMitchell View Post
    I've downloaded the brochures and case studies and one of my jobs for today is to try out the live demo for it! I'm a little concerned about the licencing costs associated (sharepoint server, maybe changing web server platform, etc) but it'll be interesting to see what SLG can do; and to be honest, a solution that *doesn't* require me to develop and maintain the nuts and bolts has a lot of appeal...
    You could run it on the free Windows Sharepoint Services and won't need to purchase the full blown Sharepoint product and associated CALS.

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    Sivadam's Avatar
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    Matt,
    Have a look at Capita SLG Hosted Service!

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    Anyone considered doing a time-delay on the attendance stats, so that only registers from the last full week are displayed (or today-3 (or 5, or whatever) working days)?

    Considering doing it with daily XML scheduled report output, and WSS3.0 (yeah, I know, we need MOSS), XSL and a little ASP, but the issue of gaps in the registers worries me a lot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by towen View Post
    I bet it was quite expensive
    In fact it is very cheap (the figures are in school, but I think it was less than £2K to set up and the first year's running costs), and it was up and running within 48 hours. We already use Bromcom for the registers with PE staff being able to take registers via mobile phone when on the playing fields (I don't know if SIMS can do this) and so have Bromcom set up to read data from SIMS already.

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    Quote Originally Posted by beeswax View Post
    (I don't know if SIMS can do this)
    Yes it can. Via SLG.

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