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MIS Systems Thread, Ideas for automating analysis of SIMS assessment data in Excel in Technical; Thanks for your example - looks very nice and I can see that it would be very useful if people ...
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    Thanks for your example - looks very nice and I can see that it would be very useful if people were using it themsleves.

    I would be prepared to spend the time and effort coming up with something that would be a long term solution, it's just very daunting as I've hardly used VB let alone anything else.

    Charlotte

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    The only VB in the spreadsheet is to populate the teaching groups when the user changes subject and attributes when the user changes that. Everything else is done with standard excel functions -most of the 'clever' stuff folks would normally use SQL for is done with VLOOKUP and HLOOKUP. I've been meaning to document the process for some time but ... time ... where does THAT go.

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    Can anyone recommend a course on VB I could go - I think it could have many applications in school.

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    Where abouts in the country are you based? have you got any programming experience?

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    No real programming experience but I'm good with stuff like that and I'm willing to learn.

  6. #21

    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ctaylor View Post
    Can anyone recommend a course on VB I could go
    No - the best way to learn to program in any language is going to be to simply use it to do something. Writing a statistical analysis package should be a pretty good place to start. If you want to do a course on anything, do a course on statistics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ctaylor View Post
    No real programming experience but I'm good with stuff like that and I'm willing to learn.
    If you are good with stuff like that then you might be better off getting a book (search VBA on amazon) or try some of the many online tutorials (search VBA Tutorial on your favourite search engine).

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    Thanks - will do. I think it's probably worth the effort to learn something rather than get someone to do it.

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    @ctaylor: Have a look at the attached. I've re-worked out how I did what I did all those years ago. It essentially uses vlookup(), row() and indirect() with if() and iferror() thrown in for good measure. The trick is get vlookup() on the row after a match to start it's array below said match in the raw data. So, when it's found a match, the next row starts looking for it's next match after the first match in the raw data. Clear as mud?!

    It has one major limitation that might mean a switch to lookup() rather than vlookup(). The latter will only lookup data at the left of an array, whereas lookup() can be set to lookup a match anywhere. In English, for vlookup() to work you'd have to have your columns for the different focus types to the left of the rest of the data (they have to be the left most column of the vlookup() array). Actually, I don't think that made it any clearer!

    Anyway, have a look at the attached...
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    Indirect() (which allows you to reference cells via text) is really useful, for example I use it with a dropdown box to allow me to alter graphs on the fly (essentially telling the graph to look at different rows/columns in a table)

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    Quote Originally Posted by ctaylor View Post
    I have looked at 4Matrix and hated it. Looked at SISRA and loved it but couldn't get financial backing, hence I have tried to become an Excel expert which I am finding is starting to limit me. Discover may well be the key but I've been told that won't be until Summer Holidays so nothing I can do for the rest of the term other than work longer hours.
    I think etiquette here allows me to respond if our product is mentioned.
    I don't mind people hating 4Matrix but I wouldn't like this to be the last word about it on these forums. Of course everyone is entitled to their opinion, but actually 4Matrix will probably do everything and more that the original post asked for. Please look at the flip brochure at http://www.4matrix.org/exams to see what it will do on exam results day for the 250-ish schools that are already using 4Matrix. I hope that this link won't be censored because I think I am entitled to defend my product and this is the most efficient way to do so.

    The other implicit criterion mentioned in the first few posts was cost. 4Matrix is intended as a high-value, low-cost product. It was developed as a school improvement tool rather than a data analysis package and intended for use by school leaders primarily, supported by a data manager. It supports an approach to reducing in-school variation that has lead to at least one school getting an Outstanding Ofsted report recently and attributing that to their use of 4Matrix. This particular school (Aston Academy) is the subject of an SSAT school event on 6th July where the head will be demonstrating how teachers use 4Matrix to raise standards and develop the QA role of leaders. Please go along if you can and judge for yourself the impact. Then judge the value of 4Matrix against its cost. Rationally, you can't really dislike that.

  12. 2 Thanks to Mike_Bostock:

    dhicks (22nd June 2011), resin1 (23rd June 2011)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike_Bostock View Post
    4Matrix is intended as a high-value, low-cost product.
    It sounds like just the tool my previous school needed - I'll be sure to pass on the URL. However, your website is a little vauge about pricing - as I imagine you update your application every year, do you price on a site-licensed subscription model?

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    It sounds like just the tool my previous school needed - I'll be sure to pass on the URL. However, your website is a little vauge about pricing - as I imagine you update your application every year, do you price on a site-licensed subscription model?
    Thanks for asking the question David.
    Like most suppliers, we don't put prices on our website for similar reasons. We charge a low annual cost for any size school and any number of users. We offer discounts on three year licences. It is worth saying that 4Matrix is a sophisticated, easily-installable, networkable SQL-driven Microsoft application. It will automatically pull a wealth of data from SIMS using a built-in application written for us by TASC Software - a SIMS Premier Partner. It will also easily import data from CMIS etc. and you can copy and paste into it from Excel. Please contact me via the website if you would like to know more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike_Bostock View Post
    I think etiquette here allows me to respond if our product is mentioned.
    I don't mind people hating 4Matrix but I wouldn't like this to be the last word about it on these forums. Of course everyone is entitled to their opinion, but actually 4Matrix will probably do everything and more that the original post asked for. Please look at the flip brochure at http://www.4matrix.org/exams to see what it will do on exam results day for the 250-ish schools that are already using 4Matrix. I hope that this link won't be censored because I think I am entitled to defend my product and this is the most efficient way to do so.

    The other implicit criterion mentioned in the first few posts was cost. 4Matrix is intended as a high-value, low-cost product. It was developed as a school improvement tool rather than a data analysis package and intended for use by school leaders primarily, supported by a data manager. It supports an approach to reducing in-school variation that has lead to at least one school getting an Outstanding Ofsted report recently and attributing that to their use of 4Matrix. This particular school (Aston Academy) is the subject of an SSAT school event on 6th July where the head will be demonstrating how teachers use 4Matrix to raise standards and develop the QA role of leaders. Please go along if you can and judge for yourself the impact. Then judge the value of 4Matrix against its cost. Rationally, you can't really dislike that.
    No offence intended here David - I didn't like the product but that doesn't mean to say others wouldn't. I'm looking for an alternative method I can use without having to pay a third party to do the work.

    Thanks to everyone for your input on this.

  16. #30

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    Thanks Charlotte. This is not a problem. To say 4Matrix is not for you is to acknowledge your assessment of it, and also the fact that it probably wasn't designed for what you have in mind.
    With good wishes for finding an approach that works for you.

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