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MIS Systems Thread, Assessment/Reports in Technical; Hi At the moment we are using XML spreadsheets exported from SIMS for teachers to write reports, unfortunately has led ...
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    Assessment/Reports

    Hi

    At the moment we are using XML spreadsheets exported from SIMS for teachers to write reports, unfortunately has led to problems with lack of comment banks etc.

    What do other school use for report writing, that integrates with SIMS?

    Thanks!

    PS: we know it is theoritically possible to do comment banks etc in SIMS then get staff to write reports there, but are trying to avoid this for various reasons.

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    Sylv3r's Avatar
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    I know you are trying to avoid writing reports via SIMS and you will have your reasons, but we use SIMS profiles and this works without issue for us - it saves the job of someone having to manually enter the student details or student comments into a third party system if that is what you are trying to do.

    Profiles takes a bit of tweaking to get setup, but once its life it works perfectly or near enough without any major issues for us over the last 3 or 4 years.

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    Thanks Sylv3r. What we are really after is a system that can pull the student data from assessment manager but present it in an easy format for staff to quickly complete reports..... I know of a few other schools who have done this but they are mostly systems developed in house (which we don't have the time or resources to do...).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cruiser_Scotland View Post
    ....pull the student data from assessment manager but present it in an easy format.....
    If you have a lot of data in assessment manager then why not use it to do the reports? We have used it for all reports issued to parents for 6 years now and have found that it works well for us.
    Do all your staff have access to SIMS though?, it would be too complicated to work if you rely on the xml spreadsheets.

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    Sivadam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cruiser_Scotland View Post
    Thanks Sylv3r. What we are really after is a system that can pull the student data from assessment manager but present it in an easy format for staff to quickly complete reports..... I know of a few other schools who have done this but they are mostly systems developed in house (which we don't have the time or resources to do...).
    But Profiles can be set up so that it does pull the data through from AM7. Individual comments in a Profiles Comment Bank can be linked to specific Aspects/Results in AM7!

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    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cruiser_Scotland View Post
    PS: we know it is theoritically possible to do comment banks etc in SIMS then get staff to write reports there, but are trying to avoid this for various reasons.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sivadam View Post
    But Profiles can be set up so that it does pull the data through from AM7. Individual comments in a Profiles Comment Bank can be linked to specific Aspects/Results in AM7!
    I'm guessing that they either don't give all staff access to SIMS or want the option to do it online, Profiles isn't going to help there Mike!

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    skunk's Avatar
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    We use Profiles, it is not perfect for a whole host of reasons, but makes managing the whole affair reasonably easy. We are constantly flirting with the idea of using assessment manager marksheets, but then you lose the comment bank functionality (which very few use to be honest). A nice blend of the two would be good, data and comments on the same screen at the same time, a radical notion to a SIMS user.

    We have used a commercial external report writing system, but it really did not work for us in a big way, but your mileage may vary.

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    Sivadam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LosOjos View Post
    I'm guessing that they either don't give all staff access to SIMS or want the option to do it online, Profiles isn't going to help there Mike!
    I thought that, in this day and age, all schools would have heard of 'SIMS in the Classroom'

    And you can do Profiles online with SLG!
    (Yes I know that some people knock it - but it works!)

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    skunk's Avatar
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    Would go SLG like a shot but for the cost.......so remote access to a terminal server with access to SIMS for us.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skunk View Post
    We use Profiles, it is not perfect for a whole host of reasons, but makes managing the whole affair reasonably easy. We are constantly flirting with the idea of using assessment manager marksheets, but then you lose the comment bank functionality (which very few use to be honest). A nice blend of the two would be good, data and comments on the same screen at the same time, a radical notion to a SIMS user.

    We have used a commercial external report writing system, but it really did not work for us in a big way, but your mileage may vary.
    I looked at profiles but decided against using it because a) we do not use comment banks and b) because it required too many clicks.
    The mark sheets show all relevant assessment data and the comments are easily viewed via the F4 key (although I would like to be able to change the text size!) The main weakness is the ability to view and edit the completed reports.

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    DSapseid's Avatar
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    We used to use a bit of software called teachers report assistant that you could export the files from sims import to this then write the reports then save and then re-import to sims.

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    So you want comment banks without profiles? Hard task. You'd have to go to some third party. Why can't the teachers maintain their own comment banks, then copy and paste? In many schools i've seen the rule that they don't want stock comments, so avoid comment bank systems, but then the teachers just create their own. It's not that hard to maintain a spreadsheet or word document. Some teachers even create spreadsheets with formulae to pick the comment based on the grades, and even alter the he/she etc.

    In terms of displaying the assessment data nicely, there are a number of alternatives to SLG, look at TASC software, Bromcom, and they'll allow you to enter comments, but not via comment banks as far as i know.

    Profiles is really the way you should go. I actually thought that Profiles let you export out to a word document that staff could edit then reimport, doesn't it have that option? Also tied to a comment bank, so you can go through and enter 1/2/3/4 and it imports and replaces with the relevant comment? If that works it would stop the need to give SIMS access.

    If that isn't possible, try this link Free teaching resources we looked at it a while ago, and though not integrating with SIMS, could make the comment banking part work, then they just need to copy paste into the right areas of the XML sheet. We never pursued it, but were planning on using it for teachers whose first language isn't English, to make it easier for them to 'write' and save on simple mistakes. It could be useful.
    Last edited by vikpaw; 11th February 2012 at 06:53 AM.

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    Thanks vikpaw. We've tried using a secondary program for the comment banks then asking staff to copy and paste into the XML spreadsheet - however I was really after something that gave an integrated, easy front end that wrote back to SIMS. Am trying to avoid staff having to do reports in SIMS itself, but may have to rethink this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cruiser_Scotland View Post
    Thanks vikpaw. We've tried using a secondary program for the comment banks then asking staff to copy and paste into the XML spreadsheet - however I was really after something that gave an integrated, easy front end that wrote back to SIMS. Am trying to avoid staff having to do reports in SIMS itself, but may have to rethink this.
    This is what i was thinking of @Cruiser_Scotland : Chapter 4, page 73 of the profiles handbook, profiles.pdf on your server in the documentation folder -
    Once a reporting session has been set up, its status has been set to Active and you have ensured that it is unlocked, you can select and enter the
    comments for each pupil/student.

    The comments selected and entered make up the body of a pupil/student profile. The selection and entry of comments can be carried out using one of the following methods:

    • List Entry teachers with access to a SIMS workstation work on groups
    for which they are responsible and select comments for each pupil/student.
    • Grid Entry teachers write the reference for each comment they select
    onto a data entry sheet. Administrative staff can then enter the references
    onto the system via an on-screen grid.
    • OMR Entry teachers mark their comment selections on system-produced
    OMR sheets. These are then fed into the system through an OMR.
    It's not quite as simple as i thought, but must be workable. Personally i've never used it, as don't like the setup, but lots of things have been tweaked now, so once you get the hang of it and have it set up, it should work well. Also, i believe it is able to autoselect a comment based on a grade, so you could semi-automate part of it. I reckon that's going to be leaps ahead of what you're doing, though not perfect, is available at no cost. Well, just your time.

  15. Thanks to vikpaw from:

    Cruiser_Scotland (18th February 2012)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cruiser_Scotland View Post
    Thanks vikpaw. We've tried using a secondary program for the comment banks then asking staff to copy and paste into the XML spreadsheet - however I was really after something that gave an integrated, easy front end that wrote back to SIMS. Am trying to avoid staff having to do reports in SIMS itself, but may have to rethink this.
    I may be misunderstanding, but tell me if I have I got this straight...
    You want to create the report templates in SIMS, write the reports in some other perhaps more user friendly program with comment banks, then import the reports back into SIMS and finally print from SIMS?

    If this is correct, I'm not clear why you want to import the reports back into SIMS when they have been written. Why not print them from the third party software you used for writing the reports?

    If you are not a fan of SIMS, you could limit SIMS usage to the first stage only - that is producing the data (in Excel or XML) which the third party software would need, such as Assessment data, UPNs, etc.

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