Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Improving the use of student data through SIMS


I came across this online article today from the Cayman News Service website - I'm not at all sure about the old file photograph of me they have used, but the article refers to the country's new approach to managing student data. The press release, originally written some time ago, has now been released by Capita and shared world wide - it's yet another example of the interest in the Cayman Islands and the holistic approach to systemic change.

As part of the ongoing education transformation process in the Cayman Islands, a critical aspect has been the purchase of a country wide schools integrated management system. From the previous position of schools using a variety of incompatible software, some home developed, a consistent program will really help give unprecedented access to the information and data to help students improve their performance, from tackling truancy or behaviour issues to creating personalised learning programmes. It will mean teachers do less administrative work allowing them to focus on teaching and learning.

We all know that the more data we have about our students, and the more we can track and monitor progress, the better informed our teaching will be. As ever, the challenge will be the ongoing training our our teachers to ensure that they understand how to effectively use the data in lesson planning and see it as a really valuable tool for them.

Software alone does not do anything of course - the key element is the interconnectivity of all aspects of the transformation process - so add to the mix the new national curriculum coming into place for September 2008, the new ways of assessing our students, the progress being made in adopting the PYP programme, the ongoing professional development programme whilst developing new learning environments all are core parts of the overall approach.

Against a tough tendering process, SIMS, by Capita was the successful software and installation and training is well underway. The benefits will show in time, but education officials are excited by the potential that this new programme will afford the education system.

As teachers always ask: "Is this more work?" the answer is absolutely no - "it IS smarter work however!"
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