According to a recent survey conducted by Capita SIMS, almost a third of schools have been unable to provide an Ofsted inspector with specific pupil data.

Many schools are still using paper-based methods to track the progress of individuals or groups of students despite changes to the Ofsted inspection which requires schools to be ‘data savvy’.

20 per cent of respondents admitted to analysing pupil achievement on paper
18 per cent stated that paper was their preferred method of analysis
19 per cent revealed that they lacked the technical know-how to move away from paper.

The survey doesn’t surprise me. I visit schools every day and talk to senior leaders about their assessment systems. When a school asks me to visit, it’s usually because they know that SIMS Assessment can deliver some real benefits to the way their school records and analyses data. Most schools are looking to replace an old Excel based system but a small minority of schools are replacing a truly paper-based system.

I can understand the 20 percent of respondents who admitted using paper. Sometimes the back of an envelope is the best place to do a little ‘what if’ modelling.

And I can understand 19 parent of respondents who lack the technical know-how to ditch their paper systems.

But if you’re one of the 18 percent of schools who say they prefer paper – I challenge you to look in depth, again if necessary, at SIMS Assessment Manager. I’ll not bang on about all the advantages of SIMS (you can read the other posts in the blog for that)  but here’s some reasons why you shouldn’t be using old fashioned pen and paper:

1) When you retire or move on to another school, your paper or Excel system will die. No-one will understand your carefully crafted Excel formulas, and and no-one will be able to read your handwriting.

2) Paper and excel files are vulnerable. Papers are lost,  Excel files get copied to pen drives and left on the bus. SIMS is tough as old boots. The software is stable and secure and it gets backed up every night.

3) Your old paper system is already out of date,  and you only updated it yesterday. Education moves too fast. You need to be agile, your data needs to be timely.

4) Paper and Excel are single user systems. SIMS is multiuser. Put simply, all your staff can be entering their latest assessments simultaneously and SIMS will cope with it just fine.

Get in touch with your local system support unit (or me) and we can help!