Phil Wickins, Tes Author and teacher in Southampton, shares the motivation behind his handy pupil-tracking tool
Without a doubt, the best use of data is to drive planning and interventions, to identify which vulnerable groups to support and to diminish inconsistencies across teaching and learning; in short, to put children’s learning first. But, with growing workloads and increased scrutiny, data analysis has become just another admin task to be completed over the weekend, or just before the end of term.
And so that got me thinking… what would the ideal tracking system actually look like?
Features of an ideal tracking system
Firstly, it would be easy to use. Teachers are only human and with increasingly busy schedules, there’s always the risk that mistakes will be made when analysing data - believe me, I know! The ideal system will remove the possibility of human error from the process of creating windscreens, working out percentages and calculating gaps between vulnerable groups, while allowing for a hands-on approach.
Secondly, it should be affordable. Tracking systems are a staple of teaching life but can often come with a hefty price tag, or be overly complicated to use. At a time when schools are experiencing a huge deficit and teachers’ workloads are constantly increasing, should we really have to break the bank for a system that’s not quite right?
Finally, and perhaps most obviously, it should be tailored to National Curriculum objectives. All of us are aware of NC objectives, but few tracking systems I’ve come across allow you to track them over time. Having a tool that can do this with ease would prove to be invaluable.
What I’ve created
With these requirements in mind I’ve created this objective tracker. The accompanying tutorial video shows you how to display different visual representations of your class data by half term, allowing for easy analysis. It also makes the identification of trends more obvious and predictions more accurate.
In this way data becomes useful. After all, there’s nothing more powerful than being able to understand data and go on to use it to support your day-to-day work. And, ultimately, put children’s learning first.