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MIS Systems Thread, Profiles - what to do about comment banks? in Technical; We use SIMS .net for profiles. Currently I maintain all the comment banks. For security reasons (ie to stop staff ...
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    Profiles - what to do about comment banks?

    We use SIMS .net for profiles. Currently I maintain all the comment banks. For security reasons (ie to stop staff deleting them from SIMS .net), curriculum leaders do not have access to the comment banks module.

    Therefore, what happens is, at the beginning of the year, I export all the comment banks to be used that academic year, and store them in a shared area to which all staff have read access, and selected staff have write access. During the course of the academic year, the staff charged with the task edit comment banks as necessary, then just before I open the reporting session, I import them all back in.

    Then the staff actually get reading the comment banks and want to correct the errors!

    In the past we used a Sharepoint workspace for this. This meant that I could set the system up to send me an e-mail if changes had been made, so I could go back in and reimport comment banks with changes. Staff liked this system and felt that it was automated - it wasn't, there was a SIMS monkey working in the background, but they don't need to know that!

    However, our Sharepoint licence has expired, so this year I'm storing the comment banks on a shared drive on our network. This system was fine for changes up until the day that I import the banks and open the session, but staff are forgetting to e-mail me with changes after the event.

    Is there any way I can get notification of a change to contents on a shared drive on a Windows network? Otherwise, what methods do you use? Do you allow staff access to the comment banks module to make changes there? Does that work reasonably well?

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    Sivadam's Avatar
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    Save everybody some work and give access to the Comment Bank to your HODs. You can still control them and remove their access after a specified cut off date!

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    I think I'd like to do that to be honest. Problem is, we renew the comment banks year on year, so there are always at least two for the same subject/year group, eg 2009 (as an archive of the banks that already exist) and 2010, so I know full well that staff will change the wrong one.

    Do you know, off hand, whether, if you're using bespoke permissions rather than SIMS own permission groups, you can give bog-standard teaching staff access to view the comment banks?

    Actually, I suppose if they go to the list entry screen, they can see the comments...

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    As a workaround you could search for a batch script or more likely a vbscript that will monitor the folder for changes to the file modified date.
    I don't have time to look myself, but if you find something, the guys in the scripting forum will help you out with any modifications.

    Failing that you could just sort the folder by modified date and have to look manually, but then you have to remember to do this every day.

    A simple batch script that would show you a list of files that need to be backed i.e. the archive bit is set, which means they have been modified would be this:

    Code:
     
    cd S:
    cd deegeerocks\reports\profiles\comments
    dir /Aa /b
    if you get any results then they are new, but it depends on how often that location gets backed up and how. Only a full backup will clear those flags.

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    We didn't bother with comment banks with profiles as a lot of the reports for students were too similar and not personal. It does cause a lot more problems with spelling, grammar and punctuation however and several checks are needed before they are sent to parents.

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    In my experience, admittedly >20 years ago, a good comment bank will provide much more varied and accurate reports than anything hand written with notable exceptions. The problem always come if you allow neutral comments that say nothing! If you have say 5 sections each with 20 comments the permutations are enormous.

    Try looking through some handwritten ones - they are very very similar o each other!

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilNeal View Post
    In my experience, admittedly >20 years ago, a good comment bank will provide much more varied and accurate reports than anything hand written with notable exceptions. The problem always come if you allow neutral comments that say nothing! If you have say 5 sections each with 20 comments the permutations are enormous.

    Try looking through some handwritten ones - they are very very similar o each other!
    I agree myself but the way we write the reports is a general comment and two areas for improvement for each student - an area for improvement is slightly more difficult to put within a comment bank especially as areas for improvement will be slightly different for each subject - still not impossible but it was felt that staff would be more than capable of writing three sentances including two SMART targets - in hindsight however....

    In theory in a class your always going to have a top, middle and bottom band of students with each band having similar targets / report comments.

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    Sivadam's Avatar
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    If your Comment Bank is detailed enough then it can more than fulfill your needs in terms of 'Area of Improvement'. We do something similar and each department has their own comments for this section (as they do with all the other sections!).
    The reports are also tailored to each pupil as part of the QA by the teachers themselevs and also by the Profiles Reviewers!

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    We don't use Profiles, so comment banks is not easy to apply, but has been done.
    However, the staff use their own, just because we don't supply them it doesn't mean they don't want to save time.
    I've seen banks from 3 comments per class up to a complicated spreadsheet that averaged test scores and created comments on the fly.
    On the whole, they are very similar, and we use this fact when proof reading because if they spelt it wrong for one student it will be wrong for most of the others too!

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    Hi I am a user of Profiles and about to refine the system. Currently we have Key Stage Comment banks - but I was thinking of moving to Year group comment banks - anyone else do this or what methods are used? thanks



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