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Keeping schools updated on the latest news and ideas. Read about our approach to assessment, what we are doing and why...


Administering Connecting Steps and Evisense Training Webinar

Our webinar this month was focused in on how to administer Connecting Steps, Evisense and My B Squared effectively, whether you are setting up from the beginning or providing on going administration. It's important to understand what all the options are within the systems and how they can be configured correctly to ensure you are using the system to suit your setting. 

I also went through some of our most common support questions we field on the help desk and advised how administrators can help ensure that users do not fall into some of the most common problems, and how they can mitigate problems early on before they become too serious. This includes doing checks on data to look for anomalies and investigating and rectifying the cause of these issues.

 


 


Moving on With Connecting Steps
This week we ran our ‘Moving on with Connecting Steps’ webinar. This webinar is for users who have been using Connecting Steps for a while and want to get more out of the software. The webinar aims to cover the following areas

  • Ethos around Connecting Steps in your school
  • What information do you use from Connecting Steps?
  • How to show the smallest steps of progress

At the start of the webinar I asked attendees what they are looking to learn from the session. The responses covered all the usual questions – showing the really small steps of progress, overview of school data, evidencing progress, what happens with the removal of P levels. We have run webinars on most of these topics already, so I touched on each of the areas and pointed them towards webinars which cover the topic in much greater detail.

The first part of the webinar covered the ethos of Connecting Steps in your school. Is there someone leading the use of Connecting Steps?Has everyone received training? Why are you using Connecting Steps and what are you using the information for? This is quite a big area and they are important questions to ask. I listened to a talk a few years ago at a conference around assessment, the speakers talked about his school’s ‘buy in’ to the system they were using. Over the last 8 years they had used 4 different assessment systems and none of them had worked. The reason? He realised the school hadn’t committed to the different systems, they hadn’t put the effort in to make the system work. As a school they thought by simply having the system it would solve their problems, it didn’t. The speaker took the lead with the last system they used, spent time supporting all the staff, identifying ways to improve how they work and looking at how to use the data the system produced. He concluded that any of the systems they had used over the last few years probably would of worked really well for the school, but they hadn’t fully committed to using them. So how are you using Connecting Steps in your school? Ask yourself the above questions, one of the first questions you should probably ask is what are all the things Connecting Steps does? Are we using it to its fullest potential?

We come across these questions a lot and it’s not something we can answer. We can help you understand what Connecting Steps can do for you, so that you can make a more informed decision. With limited time and money it is important schools know what they have access to already before they make any changes. We offer all our webinars for FREE as a great way for schools to up-skill their staff. Why not ask your staff to all watch the ‘Getting Started with Connecting Steps’ webinar and talk about things they have learnt. As part of this webinar I covered the different levels of engagement and how you can show progress for pupils who haven’t mastered skills with the pie chart. Although we have done lots of work trying to inform schools around this feature 70% of attendees didn’t know this pie chart existed, yet the pie chart is a really important feature for schools who know about it.

I talked about the importance of using the system to show a true reflection of your pupils. In many systems you are putting children into different boxes. You may have a number of children who may be classed as Year 1 but they are all different. Schools shouldn’t be fitting pupils into a box. In Connecting Steps you wrap the system around the child, it is hugely child-centered. Don’t use just 1 level to assess a pupil’s progress within a subject, work across multiple levels. Use Connecting Steps to show that it is only part of writing that the pupils is struggling with at that level and that they are making really good progress in the other aspects on the level above. This will be motivational for the teachers as they can show the progress the pupil is making. It will also be really motivational for the child and their parents that the progress they are making is recognised and that as a school you have a really clear understanding of their child’s needs.

During the webinar I showed a number of screens users find useful for sharing information. The ‘Assessments to be Mastered’, ‘Assessments Mastered’ and ‘Bar Chart’ from the individual reports section are really good to share with parents as they provide meaningful information that parents can understand and they are really quick to produce. I also showed a few reports from CSAM, the ‘Progress Over Time’ graph is a great way to show progress for pupils working across multiple levels.

I was asked a number of questions in the webinar that we have already run webinars on, these include:

There are also a number of handouts linked to these webinars which schools will find really useful. Please check out our other webinars.


Cyber Essentials Certification

We have now completed our Cyber Essentials Certification for the year. Whilst this is broad in its approach, it helps to ensure that even the smallest of companies are thinking about online security and helping to keep themselves secure. As a company or school, going through the Cyber Essentials certifications helps draw you attention to the flaws in your internal processes and security. Raising these early helps prevent your system from being compromised. 

This is particularly poignant at the moment as an email phishing attack seems to be making its way across the internet, which encourages people to try and view a message they have been sent, but with a goal of harvesting your login credentials to then use these to send out more emails and perpetuate the problem. Cyber Essentials alerts you to the possibility of this and forces you to think about how you can reduce these risks satisfactorily. In this particular case, good staff training is required to help them understand how they can protect themselves and their/your data.



Cyber Essentials Certificate 2019-2020.pdf

 


Administering Connecting Steps and Evisense Training Webinar

This is the first webinar on administering Connecting Steps and Evisense. A little while ago, we made a decision to split our training webinars into smaller, more focused ones that allowed us to cover in-depth specific parts of the system, rather than lightly covering the entire system. As it stands, we have never really shown much love to the administrators and the parts of the system they have to deal with on a regular basis. We wanted to change that by delivering a focused webinar on all of the administration tools available to help administrators set up and maintain our systems efficiently. The meeting covers a range of topics such as adding users, students and maintaining those on a regular basis. I also covered all of the settings in both My B Squared and Connecting Steps, and how these affect each system.

 

If you are an administrator and want to find out more about how to properly administer our systems, then please take a look.


Evaluate progress across the Curriculum for Excellence the easy way - B Squared products for Scotland

Towards the end of December last year we ran a webinar introducing schools in Scotland to our new assessment products we have been creating in partnership with schools in North Lanarkshire.

Over the last few years we have been developing our Steps to Excellence assessment framework to give teachers the ability to track the small steps of progress pupils with ASN make. Steps to Excellence covers from the Pre-Early Milestones through to Fourth level across the 8 areas of the Curriculum for Excellence.

Steps to Excellence is an assessment framework which sits with Connecting Steps, our assessment software. Connecting Steps is used in over 1000 schools in the UK, helping schools by supporting their robust assessment judgements and report on curriculum level achievement. Reinforced by a range of powerful reporting tools, this framework enables schools to represent detailed progress and achievement information to pupils, parents, staff, governors, local authorities and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education (HMIE).

 

"Connecting Steps is a fantastic resource for recording, tracking, monitoring and evaluating progress across the entire school community. It enables us to easily measure the effectiveness of our teaching and programmes of work - and clearly target next steps."

John Hamilton, Headteacher, James Reid School, North Ayrshire

 

Schools in Scotland are also using our evidence for learning platform, Evisense alongside Connecting Steps to record and highlight the achievements of pupils. Evisense creates a portfolio of a child's educational journey through the CfE. The portfolio can be shared easily with parents either through the app or using printed reports.

This webinar gives schools an overview of how Connecting Steps and Evisense work together and how they support best practice. If you have any questions about our products or would like to know more, you can either send an email to myself – dale@bsquared.co.uk or you can arrange an online meeting where we can show you the software and answer any questions you may have. To arrange an online meeting click on the link below…

https://meetme.so/bsquared-scotland


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