We are delighted to present guest author David Pott who has been working with schools and local authorities since 1987 and is well known for his expertise in SIMS Assessment Manager.
David is SIMS Assessment Manager consultant with over 10 years’ experience working with Primary and Secondary schools.
He started his career working for a local authority, became an independent SIMS consultant in 2011 and currently works with schools to deliver training and develop assessment systems. In his spare time he is chair of governors for a local primary school.
For more information about David please visit this website at davidpott.com
Tops Tips for Senior Leaders
1. Empower teachers.
Use the inbuilt power of marksheets to enable teachers to analyse their own data. Marksheets contain powerful data analysis tools that allow teachers to enter and then analyse their own data immediately after they enter it. So rather than rely on senior leaders to analyse the data for them, using SIMS helps teachers to analyse their own data.
2. Go from broad analysis to individual pupils quickly.
SIMS brings all the information about a pupil together into one place, so you don’t just see a pupil’s attainment out of context – you see the whole story. For me, the test of a good assessment system is ‘does it get teachers talking about the barriers to learning for individual children?’. By bringing together all the latest, most up to date information for your children in one place, SIMS certainly passes this test.
3. Install SIMS Discover.
SIMS Discover is a free add-on to SIMS that allows anyone to create an almost infinite number of sophisticated graphs. It integrates assessment, attendance, behaviour and core pupil data and produces an infinite number of graphs that you can configure to work with your assessment system. The link to your assessment system takes a bit of setting up (everyone has a slightly different assessment system) but it is well worth the effort.
4. Use programme of study marksheets for formative assessment.
The programme of study marksheets are the SIMS solution to formative assessment without levels. The system SIMS provides is comprehensive: every statement for every subject in the entire national curriculum is available for you to assess against. If that’s too much you can set your own school expectations and measure pupil progress against those.
5. Summative assessment? SIMS has it covered.
Although assessment without levels put more emphasis on formative assessment, schools still need to record an overall grade in a subject. SIMS can be configured to record whatever overall summative grades you school has chosen to use. For example, age related expectations, milestones, key objectives and KPIs can all be configured with SIMS assessment.
6. Configure your assessment system for the benefit of your pupils, not vice versa
SIMS Assessment Manager is hugely flexible. It can create assessment systems for any school, from a tiny village infant school to a huge multi academy trust. Importantly you can configure it to provide a system that suits your pupils. There’s no need to adapt your system to the needs of third party assessment solution.
7. Don’t get frustrated, get support!
With over 80% of schools using SIMS there’s a lot of support options available. Your local SIMS support unit should be your first contact, but there are a multitude of forums, facebook groups and websites if you get stuck.
8. Analyse data like a pro
SIMS Assessment Manager isn’t just about marksheets. SIMS also offers various analysis grids that schools can use to create summary grids that can show attainment and progress statistics for various potentially vulnerable groups of pupils. The grids allow you to drill down from an anonymised ‘top level’ view and quickly zoom in to view individual pupils.
9. Don’t reinvent the wheel
Over the last couple of years Capita SIMS have released a set of marksheets, reports and excel spreadsheets that allow schools to get detailed analysis of key stage results almost at the click of a button. At EYFS the resources help schools analyse GLD, and at KS1 and KS2 schools can analyse TA and test outcomes and scaled scores. The KS4 resources provide detailed calculations and breakdowns for the A8 and P8 measures. Some schools have started to adapt them to help with in-year tracking too!