The start of the new year school year brings a mixture of excitement and apprehension for teachers and students alike, with teachers often facing a long list of things to prepare. Part of this list is getting to know our students - particularly those we haven’t taught before - to put early interventions into place, and to give our students the best possible chance of success throughout the upcoming year. Having only recently stepped out of the classroom myself, I remember this start-of-year process well, and found myself coming back to the same questions each year with my subject, pastoral and leadership 'hats' on:
While gathering this information before meeting my new classes proved to be so important in starting the year strong with my students, the data was often spread across different online platforms and spreadsheets, and took me far longer than it should have to pull it together into one place. Amongst everything else on the long to-do list, this often left me frustrated and wishing I had more time to unpack what this data was telling me about my new students.
With all of this in mind, I've put together my top tips for saving precious time and headspace by leveraging the data readily available across the dashboards inside our Cohort and Learner profiles.
❗What you'll be able to view in your own school's dashboards will also depend on the types and breadth of data that has been synced from your school's records.
|⭐ Where do
- The Achievement dashboard in the Learner Profile will help classroom, subject and homeroom teachers to get a picture of the subjects in which students have performed best, and how their achievement across subjects has tracked over a given timeframe. This can help to kick-off conversations with individual subject teachers about where students may need further extension or additional learning support.
- The Standardised Testing dashboard in both the Learner and Cohort Profiles is a great source of information for both classroom teachers and those in pastoral and leadership roles. You'll be able to quickly understand the breakdown of students sitting at, below and above expected levels of achievement, as well as top areas for improvement going forward.
- Premium schools will also be able to set up Pulse Alerts - custom email-based alerts based on a number of factors including average result for subject, and individual task result. This is an excellent way to keep track of students who may need additional support without having to manually sift through results.
- ❓ Example: After using the Achievement dashboard in the Learner Profile to take a closer look at my Year 7 homeroom student, Anton, I can now see that he struggled towards the end of last year with maths. As a result, I had a chat with Anton's new maths teacher to give them the heads-up, and set a Pulse Alert for myself to trigger if any of Anton's maths results dip below 65%. I'll also be able to use this information when I first meet with Anton's parents next week.
|🌱 Where will they need additional support?
|📈 Where are
their biggest opportunities
- Take a look at the Growth dashboard in the Cohort Profile to see a scatter plot of students across quadrants representing growth and achievement. This is an excellent tool to highlight students that either need additional scaffolding or extension, as well as comparisons between their results in both standardised and school-based assessments.
- The Sankey chart in the Achievement dashboard in the Cohort Profile is a great help in revealing groupings of students that sit within similar achievement bands, and how their achievement has tracked over a given time period. This can be an excellent help in informing differentiation strategies, and to get a broader picture of authentic student capabilities. Classroom and subject teachers can use this data to tailor the level at which they pitch their content for the start of the year, and learning leaders such as Heads of Department can also use cohort information as the basis for whole-team discussion.
- ❓ Example: Seeing the scatter plot of my Year 4 students on the Growth dashboard in the Cohort Profile helped me to identify that although Aneeqa produced strong results for reading across her NAPLAN results, this hasn't been reflected throughout her in-class work so far. I followed up with a discussion with my learning leader, where we came up with appropriate intervention strategies to make sure that Aneeqa is able to demonstrate her full capabilities during class.
|💭 What can I
learn about their previous habits
- The Tasks dashboard is particularly helpful for homeroom teachers and pastoral leaders to understand how diligent students have previously been with managing their workload and submitting work on time. This can then lead into either individual or whole-class conversations about setting up positive work habits for the new year. The dashboard in the Learner Profile provides an easy way to look back on students' habits in previous years, and the Cohort Profile dashboard will become of greater use as the school year progresses.
- Similarly, the Attendance dashboard in both the Learner and Cohort profiles will paint a useful picture for homeroom teachers and pastoral leaders about past attendance habits, which will allow for early intervention, and can be a jumping-off point for conversations with parents and carers about maintaining a strong attendance rate early in the year.
- Pulse Alerts (for Premium schools) is a helpful tool for setting up custom email alerts regarding attendance, behaviour, task adherence and submission.
- ❓ Example: As the new Year 10 co-ordinator, I was made aware by my predecessor that the cohort had struggled with poor attendance habits in the year prior. I used the Attendance dashboard in the Cohort Profile to identify students who were at greatest risk of continued poor attendance, and set up Pulse Alerts to be notified of any instance of absence for them. In our first year-level meeting for the year, I also brainstormed with the students what they'd like as a reward if they can raise their overall cohort attendance above 90% - we settled on an end-of-term pizza and video games afternoon! 🎮 🍕 Setting a Pulse Alert for this 90% attendance threshold will make it easy for me to let the students know when they've achieved their goal.
This is just the tip of the iceberg as far as the use cases for our dashboards across the Learner and Cohort Profiles, but an excellent place to start for the beginning of the year.
Best of luck for the start of the new school year! 🏫 🎉
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