Anyone who has invited me to their school to demonstrate how they can make the most of SIMS will know of my enthusiasm for SIMS Assessment and SIMS Discover, in particular how these powerful solutions can support independent schools to ensure every pupil achieves their potential.
I’m often asked for my ‘top tips’ for assessment in SIMS, and enjoy sharing those nuggets of knowledge that I’ve picked up through years of working in education and with SIMS. I’ve jotted 10 of these down, below – I hope you’ll find them useful:
1. Select names carefully
Carefully plan the naming of aspects and templates – apart from making it easy to find what you’re looking for, it also makes cloning simple – for example having created a ‘Maths’ template, clone it to create an ‘English’ template.
2. Add a splash of colour
Include colour on your marksheets to bring them alive, particularly now you can order rows on a marksheet by colour. For example, you might highlight any grades which are considered a cause for concern. On the template, when adding the columns to ‘calculate’ the colour simply select ‘Columns for Data Review’ to do this easily and quickly.
3. Explore what lies behind
Make sure you and your teachers are aware of the analysis possibilities on a marksheet, including how you can right click on the aspect name to see grade distribution (which can also be graphed), or to order the rows, or see selected grades by using the filter icon at the top of each aspect. A right click over a result allows you to ‘View/Edit Result History’ – displaying all the students’ results for that aspect.
4. See student details easily
A right click over the student column on a marksheet allows you to display additional student details – such as gender, age in years and months and, if the marksheet is showing an intake group, previous school.
5. Specify groups of particular interest
Create dynamic Discover groups to display groups on marksheets which aren’t in the group selector list e.g. boarder status by house or scholars in each year group.
6. Record entrance exam marks in SIMS Assessment
Use assessments to record your entrance exams. Admission policies can then include the aspects as admission criteria, with these showing against that pupil’s application.
7. Display external exam results on marksheets
Include external exam results as ‘data review’ columns on marksheets
8. Don’t forget how easily marksheets are accessed from Lesson Monitor
Did you know your marksheets are on a tab behind the Lesson Monitor register for that class?
9. Introduce visually powerful graphs in pupil reports
Include graphs in individual pupil reports to allow parents to understand their child’s progress over a series of assessment points.
10. Protect your current data, even when your grade set changes
If your grade set changes, for example ‘Effort’ changes from A to E to 1 to 4, you can create a new version of the grade set. This protects all your historical grades and automatically updates the aspects that use the grade set with the new version.