One of the really useful features of LINC-ED is the ability to report to your Board of Trustees using "live" data. When I first wrote these features into the software it was in response to the needs of our own Board and as a way to help our team leaders and teachers to develop a deeper understanding of the data. Since I left principalship in 2015 we have further extended the features for reporting to the Board and we have some really exciting new developments coming later in the year. Sadly I no longer have a Board with whom I can use these tools so this blog post explains how I used the features for Board reporting and how I would use some of the new features.
*Note - all of the reports can be downloaded and shared with Board members but I share them live on a screen to promote discussion and respond to questions.
The tagging of posts within LINC-ED is an important method for data collection and can often reveal some unexpected trends. Support tags is a great example of a data sheet (Quick links → Data Sheets) that helps the Board to understand the type and frequency of support that is being provided for students in the school. The data sheet will show the percentage and count of posts per tag for the chosen page and users can click on each pie slice will show the actual student. This is useful for confirming (hopefully) that a board policy is being borne out in the classrooms. For example, a Board may have a set a target to increase the amount of support being offered in class for maths, so the pie chart for support type should reflect this.
Behaviour is another useful data sheet to investigate to look for patterns across the school or with teams/ year groups.
Another great use for the data sheets is to gather an overview of the types of posts being shared with parents, to confirm that these are in line with the schools' expectations and consistency guidelines.
More and more schools are telling me that they altered some of their tags at the start of this year to give the Board more specific information that aligned with the annual plan/ targets.
With the shift away from National Standards many LINC-ED schools are now reporting against the progressions which is allowing the collection of data across more subjects. All of the data relating to this (A checklist for setting this up) can be found on the Group Progress Page (Group→ Menu-->Progress). This was a report that I used twice a year with the board to show percentages in relation to the curriculum expectations and more specifically progress over time using the Progress Dots. These coloured dots are a powerful way to show progress over time and to quickly identify students who need some extra support, the inclusion of the support/ ESOL/ extension icons in the dots help to demonstrate where interventions have been put in place. In my role I found that our conversations around progress become much more focussed on the students who needed extra a support and what that might look like from a resourcing perspective.
There are many different reports within LINC-ED that relate to attendance but perhaps the most useful at board level are those that appear on the Group Data Sheets. Any group within LINC-ED (including the Whole School auto group) includes a link to it’s Group Data Sheet. These sheets are designed to show the breakdown of the group’s gender and ethnicity alongside "live" term by term attendance overviews and a breakdown of content shared for this group. Each year at my school we would set up a variety of target groups containing students that we wanted to track over the course of the year. Showing the Group Data Sheets of these target groups alongside the Whole school data was a useful way to look for patterns of attendance within these focus groups.
With the shift to online reporting and the removal of paper, it is really important to understand the frequency of visits to students learning pages (both at a global level for the board and an individual level). The admin-->Menu-->Visitor Analysis page gives a really useful overview for the board in terms of total parent visits to their student’s reports but also the periods of the year that experiencing the spikes in visits (this changes as reporting becomes more ‘just in time’).
This is just a snapshot of some of the reports available within LINC-ED to help Boards of Trustees gain a greater insight into the school’s data however there are many other reports available that provide data such as student numbers, ethnicity counts etc.. as well as a variety of ways to show progress through the school’s assessments. More information on accessing these reports can be found through the help menu’s search function.
The development team and I are working on some really exciting new features and reports that will further enhance the options available to school leaders when reporting to the board. Our aim is to automate as much as possible so that teachers and school leaders can focus their time on working with teachers and students!