Whichever way your school chooses to approach the removal of levels, we are developing SIMS Assessment to ensure it evolves with you. Rachael Marshman, Product Manager for Capita SIMS, shares her updates on the SIMS Assessment solution.
The lead up to the summer break was a hive of activity here at SIMS HQ. From a 17 date roadshow around the country for schools to learn about new features being introduced into SIMS, Assessment Software Consultancy Group meetings, to the popular SIMS Annual Conference. And with so much happening around assessment, I thought it was about time I wrote my next blog!
Since then, I've been focusing on the SIMS updates to assessment without levels, the mapping tool and the brand new SIMS School Report, all of which I’ll share with you today. Plus, I’ll be giving you a sneak preview of what’s coming up for assessment in spring.
Assessment Progress Grid enhancements
In response to early customer feedback we have already made some notable enhancements to the New Curriculum Progress Grids, which were originally introduced with the SIMS summer upgrade. For the autumn release we have adapted the grids to include the following updates:
- The language used within the Early Years Foundation Stage has been extended into KS1 and KS2. This means attainment can be recorded against knowledge descriptors as either Emerging, Developing, Secure or Mastered – a replacement for the original DfE-aligned outcomes of pupils being ‘at expected’, ‘above expected’ or ‘below expected’.
- Foundation subjects have been split so that each subject now has its own separate tab.
- An ‘overall assessment’ has been introduced so that teachers can apply a judgement to each subject and record what stage of the National Curriculum a pupil is working within.
- Values have been introduced to individual statements of knowledge to allow for the reporting and analysis of information.
With these changes to the Progress Grids, teachers can now record in a simple traffic light display, whether a pupil is:
- emerging (just starting to learn a new skill)
- developing (showing an increased understanding in that area)
- secure (when they have achieved expectations)
- mastered (teachers can also indicate this upon gathering further evidence of deeper understanding being shown)
New mapping tool and SIMS School Report
During the summer we also worked on adding functionality to our new mapping tool and SIMS School Report for autumn. Once a ‘map’ has been defined, schools can continue to use their own system or begin using those provided by SIMS. Whichever option your school chooses, SIMS Assessment will know where your data is being held and can therefore report on it.
If your school has created its own assessment solution in SIMS, the mapping tool will be an essential feature to help populate Capita pre-defined resources such as Marksheets, Tracking Grids, Analysis and Discover graphs. It will also help drive assessment in the one-click school report being introduced in autumn.
Local support teams will be pleased to hear we are introducing an export and import facility to the mapping tool. If you support many schools using the same assessment resources you need only define an assessment ‘map’ once and then re-use the definition for all of the schools you support.
A quick peek into spring…
If you thought all of the above wasn’t enough, the summer weeks saw us make inroads into our completely new assessment features for spring (and this is what I’m really excited about!). We’ve got grand plans for our assessment solution and the spring 2015 release will introduce this new functionality to complement the existing progress grids.
Firstly, we’re introducing a completely new screen in assessment to help schools manage their recording of achievement at the knowledge and skill level. We are working towards a more efficient way of managing this level of detail than is possible through the progress grids currently available. There will also be linked reports too. And for those schools who want to report details as well as an overall judgement, SIMS assessment will cater for that as well.
We have taken the time to consult with our customers and understand what is it that we are actually trying to achieve. I think you'll agree that what we are working towards will be highly useful and help support your school’s own assessment policies, however you decide to teach the curriculum.
If you’re worried about waiting for spring to get underway with your recording of achievement not using levels, rest assured that if you start using our New Curriculum Progress Grid to record pupil achievement now, your results will automatically translate across into the new functionality in spring too.
I’ll have lots more exciting updates coming soon. In the meantime, keep an eye out for further updates on our Tracking Pupil Progress page and in our assessment brochure. Have a question to ask? Please leave a comment below.
You can also stay up to date with the latest SIMS Assessment news on My Account.