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Academic Performance Dashboard

Alignment with Corporate Strategy

The school wishes to at least maintain its reputation for outstanding exam results and potentially push for greater academic performance. With the introduction of the new GCSE grading system and more challenging content (, 2017), achieving those top grades will be harder than ever for students so the school needs an excellent understanding of all of the factors that could affect students’ results. This starts from year 7, hence why the dashboard will have a way of measuring academic performance for lower years and will display all of the metrics that could be affecting this. The dashboard will also store historical data so that this can be learnt from. For example, students leave the school for good after taking their A-levels, so looking at their data will not help them, but it will be possible to view their A-level results in the dashboard so that staff can investigate what may have affected poor performing students.

One of The Swintage School for Girls’ closest, local rivals is Darmund School for Girls. They are known to use Educate for teacher appraisal and performance management (Educate, Performance Management). This system is widely known and praised in the industry. The  company offers great support to users of its product, including in the form of conferences and training. It allows schools to compare their teachers’ performance to national standards and Ofsted benchmarks. However, the proposed dashboard has many advantages over the Educate system. The Educate system focusses on teacher performance, which is just one part of the dashboard. Darmund Grammar School for Girls has no BI system in place for monitoring student performance throughout their school career like the dashboard will do. In the future, there is no reason why Ofsted and government data could not be incorporated into the dashboard for national benchmarking.

People HR has some built in reporting functionality which the HR manager takes advantage of for their own specific needs. However, the data stored in the system is not used at all outside of the department (apart from for calculating salary adjustments). The dashboard will provide an opportunity for this data to be used by other staff and for the benefit of the school’s main focus: achieving excellent academic results.

Both the Learning Gateway and SIMS hold a wide variety of data. However, the only MSS that they are used for are the Fruition Tracker and Attendance Monitoring. Most of the data stored in the systems is not used at all, but the academic performance dashboard will take advantage of all relevant data from these systems.

Again, the parents’ evening booking system was built for a very specific purpose: to make booking parents’ evening appointments easier and pass the responsibility on to the parents. With this system in place, a lot of data has been generated but has not been used. The system allows teachers to make a record of what appointments were attended, something a lot of staffdo not currently bother doing as they know it is not used at all. The dashboard will be using this data so staff will need to be made aware that it will be important that they fill this in on the system.

These are very much four stand-alone systems and there is no infrastructure in place that links them in anyway. People HR has the ability to be integrated with many systems and is integrated with Sage Payroll 50, the payroll system (People HR, Using People® with Other Applications & Systems). Although these are separate systems, the school has one database where each system’s data is stored in its own data mart on Microsoft SQL Server 2012.

Data will be extracted, transformed and loaded from the existing systems’ data marts into new data marts specifically for academic performance. An OLAP cube will be required for each of the three tabs of the dashboard as they will have different dimensions. The school uses SQL Server 2012 for its data warehousing. The new data marts will sit in the existing warehouse. Microsoft SQL Management Studio 2012 can be used to write and manage the stored procedures to  perform the data ETL. This program also offers immediate access to the data for those who are familiar with SQL coding.

The following cost benefit analysis highlights what can be achieved with this proposal and outlines the costs of its implementation and maintenance.

With the school being a public-sector organisation, there are no tangible, financial benefits to this proposal. That is not to say there is no point to it; the benefits are:

  • Data that the school currently holds but does not use will be used effectively.
  • The school will gain a better understanding of what factors affect students’ academic performance and will be able to act on this to improve exam results.
  • Under-performing students will be able to be identified along with what is affecting their performance so that they can be helped.
  • Heads of department will be able to better monitor the performance of their staff and intervene when a teacher is not doing so well.
  • The senior leadership team will easily be able to compare departments across the school and target those that are not up to standard.
  • The dashboard will provide a lot of information in one place and present it in an easily digestible format, for example, by using RAG colour-coding to highlight under-performing areas.
  • The dashboard will help the school to monitor how students and staff cope with the changes to GCSEs and what needs to be done to improve grades.
  • The dashboard’s data will be refreshed weekly so academic performance can be monitored all year round and intervention can take place, when needed, well ahead of exam season.

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