Tracking pupil progress is vitally important for primary and secondary schools. Here are 5 tips to help you use your SIMS Assessment manager system to track pupil progress more effectively. Some of them are very simple, others might take a bit of specialist knowledge. As ever you can contact me for more information, or contact your local SIMS support unit. This article was first published in 2009.

1) Automaticaly create targets based on key stage results

I’m always surprised at how many schools don’t realise you can create marksheets that add 12, 14 or 16 points to a KS1 result to calculate a KS2 target that’s 6, 7 or 8 sub levels ahead. Then just manually amend the targets for the 10% of pupils where this method calculates an unrealistic target. The same principal applies to KS3.

2) Use assessment manager to create intermediate (termly) targets

The same marksheet that creates a KS2 target from a KS1 target can also be amended to create targets for Y3 Autumn Term right through to Y6 Spring Term as well.

3) Use SIMS user defined groups to create marksheets for intervention groups

Need to monitor you maths under achievers? Use SIMS user groups to create marksheets that list all your Maths  under achievers in one place, regardless of their registration or year group. Goto Focus | Groups | User Defined Groups to create your new group.

4) Create ‘On Target’ columns with Traffic Lights

If you have a ‘target’ and ‘current attainment’ column create a third that compares the two columns and gives a green ‘+’ sign for pupils above target, a yellow ‘=’ sign for pupil who are on target and a red minus sign for everyone else. Clever use of gradesets allows you right-click the column heading and show a breakdown of how many pupils are on, above and below target.

5) Create a column to highlight pupils who make 2 sub levels of progress per year (and those who don’t)

Once you have attainment data for last summer and attainment data for this summer on your marksheets you can calculate the difference between them. This will give you the points progress made over the last 12 months. If they have made 4 points of progress, highlight them in green.