Recording homework in the MarkBook has two main advantages. First and foremost it helps parents see what homework their children should be doing. It does this by listing the homework details like date due, description and any references through to the the parent portal ClaSSic: you fill out the details when you create the homework column in your MarkBook and the synchronization with ClaSSic does the rest.
Secondly for teachers it allows, at a glance, a comparison of when work was set and collected with the attendance record of each student. So, you know who really did miss that piece of homework because they were out of school.
If you’ve not recorded homework before then here’s a brief instruction sheet: Setting homework guide.
A major upgrade to messaging is now available with ClaSS 0.9.11. It’s a complete rewrite behind the scenes which dramatically improves the speed and functionality of sending mass emails and SMS texts to parents and for the first time, students. Available to Office and Admin users working in the InfoBook, the most requested addition is that emails can now be accompanied by attachments.
Options for messaging parents and students
The options are also there to filter the recipients so that only one message is sent per family group or to send one per each contact, so both mother and father receive the message. The same filter options are also now available when generating address labels.
The email messaging allows an attachment of a reasonable size and its more than recommended that the file is a PDF. If you don’t already PDF then you can grab a free copy of PDFCreator to easily convert any Office document.
Attainment grid for Year 1
Tracking attainment within the MarkBook has been done for a while now by grouping related assessments together as an “Attainment Profile”. Well new charting functionality has been added to these profiles which makes it much easier to get an overview of the results for a class or even a whole cohort. A great example is the chart used at Key Stages 1 and 2 and shown in the screen-shot.
The example plots the results of four assessments over the course of a year for one class where the size of the dots on the grid indicates the number of students achieving at a given NC Level. The progression over the year (going from bottom to top) is immediately revealed by the shift in the dots from left to right with more students achieving higher levels. The coloured backgrounds act as a guideline with white indicating the target achievement band.
The new charting functions allow for many different kinds of plots and even for a degree of interactivity. In case of the KS1 and KS2 grids you can see demonstrated in the training video how this has been used to highlight individual students within the context of the cohort.
You may have noticed that there’s a new little gold star on ClaSS. It pops-up if you leave the mouse cursor hovering next to a student name in the MarkBook, Register or InfoBook This is the new merits function about which their is a very brief description in the ClaSS Manual.
It requires the minimum amount of information to be recorded to make it as quick as possible – just the activity or area which the merit relates to and the number of points awarded. There’s an optional space for more detail to record your commendation if needed.
The merit points can be tied into a house system and there is a more detailed description about managing the houses.
The merits window currently reports a running total for the individual student and their relevant house total. We’ll be adding full reporting for highest scorers etc. later next month.
If your school is interested in adopting the Merit Star and you didn’t participate in the initial consultation phase then just get in touch. All that needs to be confirmed is the list of “Activities” which you want in the selection box and the points scheme you use. For instance, you may or may not be interested in using demerits. I’d suggest it as a solution for tracking low-level problems like uniform, as ClaSS can generate analysis for anyone of those individual “activities”.