Reporting – Suggested Best Practices

The following help article has been written to help schools get their term reports, schedules and other reporting right before they send them out.

Sending assessment results to parents, students and the department is a critically important activity. The information is being sent to the primary stakeholders of your school and there is very little room for error. Assessment can also be very complex and contain many dependencies that are not always obvious.

Staffroom has many features that have been added to help schools with the process of reporting assessment results. When used systematically by a school they can help you report accurately each term.

Some advice before we get started…

  • Staffroom keeps ALL of your assessment activity, including past assessment activity. Usually assessment is stored in separate academic years which you access from the category menu at the top left of the screen. Choose the correct year / grade etc. before you start.
  • You don’t need to delete old information to make way for new information. If you find yourself considering removing students or data from past year to prepare for a new one, you are probably not doing the right thing.
  • Your assessment setup can be copied (aka cloned) from a past year so that it can be reused. If you find yourself considering setting up all of your assessment from scratch, you are probably not doing the right thing.

If you have questions about any of the points above please contact our support team and they will be happy to provide more explanation.

Markbook changes can break other things…

Staffroom assessment is deliberately flexible so that it can help schools with many different types of assessment schemes. Assessment setup changes are quick and easy to make, but due to inter-dependencies it is also easy to cause problems.

A small change in the setup of a markbook result may impact any of the following:

  • Term reports – marks and other information displayed on term reports are drawn from explicit links or tagged results in markbooks.
  • Schedules – marks and other information displayed on schedules are drawn from explicit links or tagged results in markbooks.
  • Mark summaries – marks displayed in mark summaries are drawn from explicit links to results in markbooks.
  • Result sets in markbooks – result set calculations include explicit links to other markbook tasks and/or results.
  • Rule based results in markbooks – rule based result calculations include explicit links to other markbook results.

Limit the changes you make…

Because of the dependencies above small changes can cause cascading effects, we recommend limiting the changes you make to markbooks. Below are recommendations that you can consider to reduce or limit the changes that are made:

  • Reduce the number of staff who are able to make changes to markbooks to the smallest group possible. Only grade or subject heads should be allowed to edit markbooks via the settings and quick edit features. Staffroom roles and permissions can be used to limit who has access to make these changes.
  • If your school uses CAPS, don’t change your markbooks. The department does support flexibility in their assessment reporting so deviating from their CAPS implementations causes issues when reporting to them. You should probably not make changes that affect CAPS calculations e.g. adding or removing tasks or changing weightings.
  • Don’t make changes often. The more often you make changes the more likely something will break. Changes should be carefully considered and planned.
  • Plan changes early so that you have enough time to check them properly. Making changes in a rush in the last weeks of a term is not advisable. Make changes earlier in the school term when there is no time pressure.
  • Ask our support team for advice before making changes to your markbooks. If you are not sure about a change you would like to make, please ask! We will be happy to provide advice on any changes you would like to make.

Check and test the changes you make…

After making any changes to your markbooks or other assessment settings you should check that the change you have made is correct.

  • Always check term and final results calculate correctly after making changes to markbooks. You can enter dummy marks for a student to check that calculations are working correctly (just remember to remove them afterwards).
  • Always check term reports and schedules show the correct results after making markbook changes. As explained above, term reports and schedules are linked to markbooks (where they source their data) so changes to markbooks may impact them.
  • Use the Staffroom Assessment Health Check features to locate and correct problems in your assessment setup. The health checks can identify common setup errors and places where assessment has deviated from CAPS assessment.

Always check term reports and schedules before sending them…

This is probably the most important recommendation that we make in this help article…

Each class teacher should check that ALL information for the term report or schedule is correct for at least one student in their class BEFORE SENDING THEM. Most report and schedule errors can be avoided if checks like this are performed. Checks like this should be carried out every time term reports and schedules are sent. We cannot emphasise enough how important this recommendation is. Ten minutes of checking can save a bucket full of egg on face.

Staffroom has features to help you with assessment reporting…

Staffroom has a variety of features that can help your school manage assessment activities. Many have been designed with best practice in mind. It is still the choice of the staff at your school to decide whether it makes sense to use any of the features at your school (depending on how useful they are to you).

Staffroom roles and permissions. Properly assigned roles and permissions can help you limit who has access to change markbook and assessment setup. Permissions are accessible by system administrators via Settings > Permissions > Roles & Permissions > Assessment. For assessment, we recommend that only essential staff should have the following two permissions:

  • Markbook Admin
  • Quick Edit Markbooks

Markbook roles and permissions. It is possible to set read and edit permissions at the markbook level in Staffroom. This can be done to prevent staff from changing marks in subjects that don’t apply to them. You can also limit the teachers assigned to assessment groups so that they don’t have access to markbooks at all.

Assessment Health checks. These health checks can be used to find common markbook errors and deviations from CAPS assessment. Use these checks after making changes to catch any unintended errors. You can find out more about the health check features here.

Markbook locking, archiving and hiding. It is possible to:

  • Lock result columns in the markbooks so that staff can’t add or change marks in them.
  • Archive result columns in the markbooks so that recalculations can’t update marks in them.
  • Hide result columns so that staff can’t add or change marks in them.

These features can be useful to prevent changes to marks after reporting activity is completed. You can find out more about the locking, archiving and hiding features here and how to set these in bulk here.

Term report archiving. Staffroom allows you to keep one copy of each term report on each student profile. The copy kept is intended to be the official report as issued to the student and family. We recommend using this feature to save the published report copy on Staffroom so that an unchanged version of the term report can be reissued if requested. You can find out more about report archiving here.