Using school data with pupils

Do you share data with pupils and parents to help inform discussions?

The data we have access to is predominately about our pupils. So why not share it when having discussions with them? Our housemasters and tutors regularly check-in with pupils to support, encourage and challenge them to be the best they can be. The data we have and can be used as a stimulus during these conversations.

Pupil overview page in the PowerBI app
Example data for the pupil overview page in our PowerBI app. The hierarchical slicer in the top-left makes it quick and easy to select an individual pupil, a date range can be chosen and then attendance, tracks and rewards, and effort and attainment can all be seen at a glance.

Of course, much of this data is already available to use by staff, but not often is it pulled together in a single view that is easy to interpret and share with pupils, and parents. I’ll run through this page going clockwise from the top left.

The hierarchical slicer

A slicer can be thought of a filter. When we make our selections in a slicer (or filter) we narrow down the data we are viewing. The hierarchical slicer makes finding and selecting an individual pupil quicker and easier. To begin with, there is the option to search for a pupil. However, if you were a tutor for example and wanted to go through reports with each of your tutees the hierarchical filter will help. First of all, they can select the House they are part of, then the student cohort (more about how I created these in a future post), and finally the pupil.

Attainment and effort over time

This line graph includes both effort and attainment. In our school, an effort grade of 1 is the highest and 4 is the lowest. The attainment track is from 9-1 in years 9-11, and 7-1 in years 12 and 13 (in line with IGCSE and IB grading, respectively). The x-axis has the report cycle names. It is important to make sure the data is sorted by report cycle (ascending) rather than attainment. At a glance it’s easy to see how these two report variables are changing over time.

Attainment by subject

This simple bar chart shows average attainment track by subject across all the report cycles within the selected date range. They are ordered from highest to lowest grade. Cross-filtering (or highlighting if you prefer) in the report means that when clicking on a report cycle in the line graph above, the bar chart will update to show the attainment grades for that particular report cycle rather than the average across several reports.

Tracks and rewards by category

This is a sum of tracks or rewards by category (note that a single track has a negative score of -1). For this particular pupil, it is clear to see that they seem to be particularly strong at making contributions in lessons and thus have received rewards on ISAMS to acknowledge this. By placing the reward category in the legend, it is easy to differentiate between the negative tracks and positive rewards.

Tracks and rewards by subject

This could be presented in a bar chart, but a matrix chart is simple when there could be 10 plus subjects giving tracks and rewards. Using this, it is easy to identify in which subjects teachers are rewarding or flagging issues (behaviour tracks).

Attendance data

Currently, we only have morning registration data feeding into the PowerBI model. This stacked bar chart shows the percentage of registrations (which we can assume are full days) that a pupil is present or absent. It doesn’t show change over day, or break down to certain days, but as a snapshot it works well.

Date range slicer

You can click on the dates to select them from a calendar, or drag the sliders to modify the range of dates you want data to be displayed for. This might be the last week, month, term or year. Use the slicer in this way maintains maximum flexibility so that discussions with pupils or parents can be based upon a particular time period.

Average effort by category

As the heading says. Remember, in our case, 1 is the best effort score and 4 the worst. I guess I could invert these by using a measure or calculated column (1 divided by effort grade would do the job), but for now the lower the value, the better the effort in any particular subject.

How is all of this useful?

The aim is not to turn our pupils into numbers on a chart that defines every action we take. However, the numbers do provide a valuable starting point when having a discussion with each pupil.

Interrogating the data

This particular pupil is clearly achieving well. Their effort and attainment grades are both high, and they have more reward points than behaviour tracks. Their attendance is also good. There is little to worry about. But there are still points here to discuss:

  • Since the first report cycle, your reported effort has decreased a bit. Do you feel that is true? What might have changed which means teachers are reporting your effort a little lower?
  • Art doesn’t appear to be your strongest subject? Do you enjoy it? What actions could you take to improve in that subject?
  • You have four reward points for excellent contributions in lessons. What does an excellent contribution look like to you? Do you contribute equally in all lessons?

For a busy housemaster or tutor, compiling all this information independently would be time consuming. This report page provides timely insights that are easy to access.

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