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MIS Systems Thread, The Analysis of Assessment Data in your school in Technical; Does anyone actually make good use of the Performance Analysis module in SIMS? i mean really good use. It's always ...
  1. #46

    vikpaw's Avatar
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    Does anyone actually make good use of the Performance Analysis module in SIMS? i mean really good use. It's always been on the back burner with me, as there is always something more urgent or critical that needs fixing / patching etc.

    As for replicating things you can do in Excel and other apps, that would be great. it always feels like we are being kept out of reach of our data by the user interface and the way we must access the numbers.

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    VikPaw, yes they do and its incredibly powerful!

    I don't think it is as easy to use as it could be (hence Discover) however on the Capita-CS.UK.CO site take a look at the Norbury School Talking Head (search for "Norbury"). This is a middle school head talking about her use of it. Equally take a look at the "Featherstone" case study, a secondary school that has achieved "outsanding" status and attributes much of their success to PA.

  3. Thanks to PhilNeal from:

    vikpaw (15th May 2010)

  4. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by garrysaddington View Post
    Do you mean like your MIS supplier should have already been doing, without making schools do the work. See the link below (from 2008).

    Management Information Systems (MIS) and pupil tracking: Developers' guidance

    What is the point of collecting all the data in a MIS to then have to export it somewhere else to do something useful with it. Why not have a spreadsheet open in the staffroom to collect the data and cut out the MIS? Then ask for a reduction in annual fees for your MIS.
    The document that you refer to was written in co-operation with the MIS suppliers i.e. we practically wrote it! SIMS AM & PX does all of the things that are listed in the guide without exporting to a spreadsheet.

  5. #49
    Sivadam's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by PhilNeal View Post
    The document that you refer to was written in co-operation with the MIS suppliers i.e. we practically wrote it! SIMS AM & PX does all of the things that are listed in the guide without exporting to a spreadsheet.
    What a super comment Phil!

  6. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilNeal View Post
    The document that you refer to was written in co-operation with the MIS suppliers i.e. we practically wrote it! SIMS AM & PX does all of the things that are listed in the guide without exporting to a spreadsheet.
    If that is the case why is there so much discussion on here about using spreadsheets. I only base my comments on the content of these forums.

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    As several have said, they've not really looked at PA which is where it all is!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilNeal View Post
    As several have said, they've not really looked at PA which is where it all is!!
    Extra purchase?

  9. #53

    vikpaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garrysaddington View Post
    Extra purchase?
    It's part of the assessment suite along with AM7, is that an extra purchase? I can't remember.

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    Assessment & Performance Analysis are licenced as one product.

  11. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by garrysaddington View Post
    If that is the case why is there so much discussion on here about using spreadsheets.
    Don't know if my experience is typical but we have not used AM so far because:
    - the last person who came close to understanding it was trained on an ancient version, reckoned (correctly at the time) that they could do much better using Excel, hasn't looked at it since and just happens to be in charge of these things;
    - most teachers had no access to SIMS until last week since until then the firewall between our admin network and curriculum network was inviolate (and I don't mean painted purple);
    - there's a stack of background and historical data to be imported if we're to make the best use of it;
    - we got sidetracked for a while with e-markbook: great for teachers, hopeless for anyone wanting to work at the back end (sorry Kozan et al)
    - and anyway I'm pretty comfortable doing it in Excel myself ;o)

    I'm also pretty glad we didn't try using it too soon as it's only over the last year or so that we feel we're collecting only what we need, when we need it, in the most useful form so time could have been wasting setting up sets for data we never want to use again.

    However a database is far better than a collection of spreadsheets and I see no point in designing one of my own when AM7's sitting there to use. So, once I'm certain SIMS is going to remain the school and LEA MIS of choice, then it'll be worth setting up all those aspects and result sets and using PA to get at least some of the pretty pictures and complicated tables made.

  12. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeBostock View Post
    It is unlikely that one company can provide everything that the market demands, so it is important that data can be made to move easily between applications.
    True, but schools are held back by the fact that the data captured in 'MIS' systems such as SIMS is not as readily accessible as it should be, due largely to the 'off-limits' schema, nor is there a suitable method of accesing the data via pre-canned or custom reports delivered via an easy-to-use interface. If these issues were resolved the need to pay again for all of the bolt-on capability offered elsewhere would rapidly evaporate.

    Imagine if Microsoft tried to exercise a monopoly and force people to only ever use text in Microsoft Word. There is so much that can be done with text that it is obvious that we must be able to cut and paste it into as many applications as covers the range of functions that we need. We are starting to think more creatively about performance data and this will stimulate a healthy desire for further data tools.
    That's exactly what happens with SIMS...it captures the data but won't let you at it in any meaningful way, hence the bolt-ons that have arisen.

    How may different ways can schools really all want to see performance data reported??? It should be delivered via the 'MIS' applications, then they would truly deserve the categorisation 'MIS'!

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaterinaAnna View Post
    I'd rather have a reliable, well-structured database that will produce the most commonly needed analyses easily, has a user-friendly front end and proper access to all the data than something that tries to be all things to all men & ends up frustrating people because it can't do things they're used to being able to do in excel or word.
    Common analyses backed up by proper data access. Very well said and hardly asking for the world on a plate!

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    Quote Originally Posted by DBMan View Post
    True, but schools are held back by the fact that the data captured in 'MIS' systems such as SIMS is not as readily accessible as it should be, due largely to the 'off-limits' schema, nor is there a suitable method of accesing the data via pre-canned or custom reports delivered via an easy-to-use interface. If these issues were resolved the need to pay again for all of the bolt-on capability offered elsewhere would rapidly evaporate.
    That's exactly what happens with SIMS...it captures the data but won't let you at it in any meaningful way, hence the bolt-ons that have arisen.
    How may different ways can schools really all want to see performance data reported??? It should be delivered via the 'MIS' applications, then they would truly deserve the categorisation 'MIS'!
    It is about choice and availability at any particular time. No serious specialist would go about their work with tools missing from their toolbox. They don't say "I will only tackle jobs that need a hammer and a saw". Neither do they argue that the toolbox they bought should have had all the tools that they will ever need in it, and begrudge buying further tools.

    The way that performance data is currently used in education is actually relatively primitive. We only have to ask if we will still be accepting today's constraints a few years from now to appreciate this. There is huge scope to make a giant leap forward. I have written about this subject in my blog 'Wrestling with the Data Genie'. MIS suppliers are doing their part to provide greater functionality and interoperability. Smaller companies like my own are also helping to provide affordable solutions to the growing demands on schools to make their data work harder.
    Last edited by MikeBostock; 19th May 2010 at 07:42 AM.

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    IMO spreadsheets are not an elegant solution. They may allow you to analyse your data but then ytou have the problem of the data being in multiple places which can cloud its accuarcy (you either have to have a link to the back end databse or risk not knowing of data has been updated since you performed your extract). Its much better to have the reports as an option from the source database imo with as little end user input as necesary required. This mitigates the risk of user errors and ensures that you have consistancy in the data being used for any analysis.

    Not saying spreadsheets are not useful - far from it - but if the data you are using in them is inacurate (for any reason) then the analysis you are performing is useless.
    Last edited by Dr_bob; 25th May 2010 at 08:33 AM.

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    you're right dr_bob, but we have to do what works, and in my case, we would get all the data in termly, it would be chased up if missing, and sent home as reports. we then exported to excel to analyse and reimported certain calculations as necessary. the data could change, but was unlikely to.

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