The ICT Lounge
 
Section 7.12:
Applications in School Management
 
School's are required to record and store information about their students. This information includes:
  • Attendance information
  • Information for home reports (behavior, grades etc)
  • Timetable information (periods, subject, room number etc)
Key Concepts of this section:
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Understand the different types of data that schools record about students.
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Know the reasons why schools keep records about their students.
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Be able to discuss the advantages / disadvantages of using a computerised school management system.
These records allow the school to keep track of it's students using features such as data entry, searching and extracting (e.g. printing reports).

ICT in School Management
Overview
Key Words:
Records, Relational Database, Integrated
Examples:
Schools keep attendance records so they can keep track of the number of classes that students miss
Schools provide student data, such as grades to parents (click image to see full report card)
A hand written attendance log from 1918
(long before we had computer systems)
 
School Management Information System (SIS) with icons to access different records about students
 
NOTE:
The school management information system above would consist of a relational database with 5 tables - Student Details, Performance Data, Attendance Data, Student Grades and Timetables.
 
Computerised management systems have search features so student data can be found quickly
 
A computerised school management system showing student details, timetable, attendance, schedule, behaviour and assessment data
(click image to zoom)
What sort of data do schools record?
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Schools records all sorts of data about students. For example:
  • Student personal details (name, d.o.b, address, phone number, medical info)
  • Attendance details (absences, late's etc)
  • Timetables (class time, room number, class teacher, subject etc)
  • Behaviour/Incidents (effort rating, incident details, date, time etc)
  • Performance (grades, levels etc)
  • etc.....

Why do schools record this data?
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This data is kept for a number of reasons including:
  • Parents can be contacted quickly using phone numbers, address etc
  • Be aware of special medication a student might require
  • Award students who achieve 100% attendance
  • Be aware if a student misses too many school days
  • School staff know where students are at all times (using timetable)
  • Evidence of poor behavior to discuss with parents
  • Be able to compare student test grades over the school year
  • Provide data for parents (effort levels, grades, behavior etc)
  • etc.....
If this data was not recorded properly then school reports that are sent home to parents would likely be inaccurate.


How did schools record student data before computers?
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Student records used to be recorded in paper-based books (registers, mark books etc) and then filed.

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Teachers would use books with pages that were divided into lots of small squares to record dates, who was present, who was absent, grades etc.

Problems with paper-based student records
  • Incorrect entries are difficult to change (cross out or use messy correction fluid)
  • Difficult to search (have manually flick through lots of pages)
  • Record books can be lost or damaged (if book is lost then records are gone)


What are computerised School Management Systems?
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Modern methods of recording student data involves the use of computerised relational databases (see Unit 5.4 - Types of Databases).

  Relational databases use two or more linked tables in order to share the information that they contain.
 
 
A relational database of 4 tables which would be used to store and share student records
 

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School databases are sometimes called 'School Management Systems' or 'School Information Systems' (SIS) and they allow teachers to record, update, search and extract student data very easily.

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Computer-based school information systems are often 'integrated'.

An integrated system means that all of the data we would need to record about students (timetable, attendance, grades etc) is entered and accessed from the same system rather that several different systems.


Advantages / Disadvantages of School Management Systems
Advantages
Disadvantages
Provide up-to-date student information to parents (dips in grades, behaviour etc).
School Management Systems are very expensive to buy.
Easy to search for records (e.g. go back a week to see if a student was in class).
Personal data (address, medical etc) must be secured so security measures have to be implemented. This is expensive.
Easy to update records.
They help tackle truancy (e.g. system shows if a student attends period 4 but misses period 5).
These systems are often complex to use. Staff and teachers need to spend time training.
Easier for teachers to produce and print student reports.
Some systems work online which allow parents to see their child's progress from home.