NSW Primary School Reporting to Parents in Semester 1, 2020

Introduction

The exceptional circumstances that have impacted schools during the first half of the 2020 school year present a unique challenge for how schools report to parents. Take a look at this brief video to see how this impacts 2020 reporting.

Reports comms

Currently, many students are undertaking a modified curriculum and in many cases being taught remotely and/or home schooled. The NSW Department of Education has indicated that schools are not required to report using A-E grading and has provided guidance on how schools should report.

As a result, schools have 3 options for producing 2020 Semester 1 reports.

  1. Roll over the previous academic report template, with no changes.
  2. Modify the current report template to reflect DoE requirements.
  3. Use the simplified guide and templates provided by Sentral.

For best results, Sentral recommends schools choose Option 3.

We’ve worked with the NSW Primary Principals’ Association to develop this guide and accompanying templates based on the latest NSW Department of Education guidelines.

The templates that are referenced by this guide provide a selection of pre-defined layouts that cater for the most commonly desired reporting styles for primary schools in NSW public schools for this semester. Schools who have the time and capability to design their own report layouts are entirely welcome to do so; for those who do not, these templates and instructions in this guide will provide a streamlined process that can be used by any school to get up and running in under 30 minutes.

 

Download PDF Version of this Guide

NOTE: This guide assumes you have some familiarity with setting up Academic Reports.
First time users should review the Help Centre materials in conjunction with this guide. 

5 Step Process for Implementing a New COVID-19 Reporting Template

1. Decide How You Will Report this Semester

Use this guide to decide HOW you will report to parents

 
 

2. Create a New Reporting Period

Use the standard start-of-semester process. [this can be skipped if you have already completed it]

 
 

3. Setup your Reporting Period

Setup the Manual Subject and Attendance options for the specific Semester 1, 2020 COVID requirements.

 
 

4. Create Your Assessment Schema(s)

Create a new schema covering what you need teachers to report on (English, Maths, Other LAs) + any options.

 
 

5. Setup Your Report Layouts

Upload the selected template and personalise the school colours and text for your school.

 

 

Templates

To download sample reports and XML files, right click the link and select "Save Link As..."

Template Name Sample Report Template XML
Template #1: 1 Page - English/Maths Comments Sample Report 1 Template 1 XML
Template #2: 2 Page - English/Maths + Attitudes Sample Report 2 Template 2 XML
Template #3: 3 Page - Cover Page + English/Maths/General + Attitudes Sample Report 3 Template 3 XML
Template #4: 2 Page - English/Maths/Other/General + Activities Sample Report 4 Template 4 XML
Template #5: 2 Page - English/Maths Assessment + Activities + Attitudes + Overall Comment Sample Report 5 Template 5 XML
Template #6: 1 Page - English/Maths/Other/General Comments Sample Report 6 Template 6 XML
Template #7: 2 Page - English/Maths/Other/General + Activities + Attitudes Sample Report 7 Template 7 XML

 

Checklist

Requirements Summary Completed
Design Decisions Here you will choose a series of design criteria for your reports. Design decisions are based on intentions and the size of your reports by page.
Creating Your Reporting Period Here you will create a new reporting period. Use this section ONLY if you have not begun setting up your reports this semester.
Setting Up Your Reporting Period Here you will setup your reporting period. You will use this section to create other learning areas, set attendance preferences and further setup dependencies for the next stage.
Create Your Assessment Schemas Here you will create your assessment schemas. We have created a workflow for your use to determine how many assessment schemas are required.
Setup Your Report Layouts Here you will setup your report layouts. Pre-defined layouts are provided for your use. Ensure you have downloaded the required XML files and imported them to Sentral Academic Reports.
Personalising Your Layout Here you can personalise your layout. You will be able to apply your school colours, edit the report introduction and other text and insert digital signatures.

 

Quick Guide

1. Design Decisions

Here you will choose a series of design criteria for your reports. Design decisions are based on intentions and the size of your reports by page.

More Information

2. Creating Your Reporting Period

Here you will create a new reporting period. Use this section ONLY if you have not begun setting up your reports this semester.

More Information

3. Setting Up Your Reporting Period

Here you will setup your reporting period. You will use this section to create other learning areas, set attendance preferences and further setup dependencies for the next stage.

More Information

4. Create Your Assessment Schemas

Here you will create your assessment schemas. We have created a workflow for your use to determine how many assessment schemas are required.

More Information

5. Setup Your Report Layouts

Here you will setup your report layouts. Pre-defined layouts are provided for your use. Ensure you have downloaded the required XML files and imported them to Sentral Academic Reports.

More Information

6. Personalising Your Layout

Here you can personalise your layout. You will be able to apply your school colours, edit the report introduction and other text and insert digital signatures.

More Information

Executive Team decide how you will report this semester

Design Decisions

Before starting with the setup, your schools Executive Team should convene to review & consider the following questions which will help decide the template that will be most appropriate for your school.

Decision Criteria Choices
Is there a preference for how many pages the report spans (e.g. for print reasons)? Single page Double sided (2 pages) 3+ pages
How do you intend to report on English & Maths? Comments only (C) Assessment Grade (A)  
Do you intend to include Attitudes to Learning / Commitment to Learning? Yes No  
Do you wish to include a General Comment? Yes No  
Do you need to report on learning areas other than English and Maths? Yes No  
Do you wish to report on school activities/participation? Yes No  

Template Feature Matrix

Sentral have created 7 different Templates. The Templates cater for most common requirements used by our customers. Based on the decisions above, you can use the matrix below to decide which template would be most appropriate for your school reporting needs.

Template # 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Number of Pages 1 2 3 2 2 1 2
Reporting on English and Maths C C C C A C C
Attitudes/Commitment to Learning No Yes Yes No Yes No Yes
Includes General Comment? No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Includes Other KLAs Comment? No No No Yes No Yes Yes
Includes School Activities? No No No Yes Yes No Yes

Once you have chosen your desired layout, you are ready to proceed to the next section.

 

Creating a new Reporting Period

Creating Your Reporting Period

 

NOTE: This step is only required if you have not begun setting up your reports this semester. If you have already created a Semester 1, 2020 reporting period, you may skip this step.

3.1 Setting up an academic reporting period

 

This step is the standard setup process most schools and no special steps are required. It is included here for completeness however most reports administrators should be familiar with this process.

If you are setting up Academic Reports for the first time, you will need to need to refer to the online help materials to get setup for the first time.

  1. Login to Sentral as an administrator user
  2. Open the Academic Reports module from the Sentral drop down
  3. If there is no active reporting period, the reporting period selector will appear.
    Choose the most recent reporting period.
  4. Click Setup Academic Reports
  5. On the left-hand menu, navigate to General > Reporting Periods
  6. Click Create Reporting Period
  7. Select Semester 1 and 2020 from the Semester/Year drop downs
  8. Complete the settings on the initial setup as for a normal setup
  9. Under Initial Setup, choose the previous period to roll over from
  10. Click Save

This will create your new reporting period ready to start setting up.

Importing Your Classes

Once your reporting period is created, as this will be the first reporting cycle for 2020, you will most likely need to import your classes and students. To do this:

  1. On the left-hand menu, navigate to General > Classes
  2. Click Import from Sentral Data Layer
  3. All classes will be selected by default – leave them selected – and click Import

Setup Your Reporting Period

Creating an “Other Learning Areas” subject

 

4.1 Creating An _Other Learning Areas_ Subject

After creating your new reporting period, you need to create the “Other Learning Areas” subject as a manual subject so that you have the option of including it on your report:

  1. On the left-hand menu, navigate to Reporting > Subjects
  2. Click the Add Manual Subject button
  3. In the Subject Name field enter Other Learning Areas
  4. In the Short Name field enter Other LAs
  5. In the Code field enter OTHER 
  6. You may leave all other settings as their defaults
  7. Click Save

other-learning-areas

 

Setting Attendance Preferences

 

4.2 Setting Attendance Preferences

 

The Department guidelines indicate that only whole day absences are required to be reported on for this reporting period. This requires changing the Attendance settings for the reporting cycle:

  1. On the left-hand menu, navigate to Reporting > Attendance
  2. For most schools, set Import Type to Attendance to import this from Sentral Attendance
  3. Adjust the date range to reflect the attendance period you will report on in this report
  4. Change the Tally Types drop down to Whole
  5. Click Save & Import

attendance

Further Setup Dependencies for the Next Stage

Before moving to the next stage, if you are intending to setup any of the following, you will need to refer to the online materials for assistance with setting these up before creating your schema:

  • Assessment & Attitudes to Learning: Create your grading scale under Scales
  • Attitudes to Learning: Create or update your attitude groups. We recommend considering adding a new
    Attitude item that describes the student’s participation in home learning as part of this semester’s reporting criteria.
  • Activities: Setup and/or update your list of school participation activities for this semester. This may involve removing some items that are not applicable due to the changes in school operating environment.

Create Your Assessment Schema(s)

Deciding How Many Schemas You Require

The Assessment Schema in Reports determines what data needs to be entered by teachers. Schools typically create per-stage or per-year-level schemas to allow for adjusting the content – however with the simplified report formats you should be able to use a single schema for the whole school.

Here’s some questions to help decide how many schemas you need.

assessment-schemaOnce you have worked that out, you’re ready to move to the next stage.

Creating an Assessment Schema

 

5.2 Creating an Assessment Schema

 

Follow the steps below – they assume you are in the Academic Reports setup area:

    1. On the left-hand menu, navigate to Reporting > Assessment Schema
    2. Click Create a New Schema
    3. Enter the schema name – e.g. Semester 1 2020 COVID-19
    4. Under Assessment Summary, if you intend to include an assessment grade or attitudes to learning, select the appropriate scale to use. Otherwise, you can ignore these.
    5. Under Selections:
      1. Unless including outcomes, leave Default Stage as (not using outcomes).
        We envisage most schools will not report on outcomes this semester.
      2. If including Attitudes to Learning, select the attitude group from the drop down.
      3. If including School Activities, select the activity group from the drop down.
    6. Under Overall Comments:
      1. Adjust your overall comment limits if required. The comment limits affect the amount of space a comment can take up in the report layout; it is important to set the upper boundary such that it does not cause the pages to spill over.
      2. Enable General Comment if you are including this.
    7. Click Save and Continue

new-assessment-schema

 

Configuring the Assessment Criteria

 

5.3 Configuring the Assessment Criteria
  1. For most schools – tick English and Mathematics to enable reporting on these areas.
  2. If you intend to include Other Learning Areas, tick the manual subject you created earlier.
  3. Click on the Achievement column heading, then select No Achievement to fill down.
    1. If you are including assessment grades, you should now click on these individually by clicking where No Achievement appears and select the appropriate option.
  4. Turn on the Comment field for English, Mathematics and Other learning areas (if appropriate) as desired.
  5. Click Save Assessment Criteria

assessment-criteria

 

Assigning the Classes

 

5.4 Assigning the Classes

 

Once you have the assessment schema created, all that remains is to assign it to some classes.

  1. Next to your new COVID-19 schema, click Assign Classes
  2. Click Select All to assign this for all classes; if you are using stage or year level-based schemas, click the section headings to toggle these on as appropriate.
  3. Click Save

If you are using more than 1 schema, repeat this process for other schemas.

covid-classes

 

That’s it!

You are now ready to review your class data entry screens and for staff to commence data entry.

The next section will cover how to upload your selected template to match with the schema. This can happen in parallel with the data entry by staff if required.

Setup your report Layouts

Downloading the XML Template File(s)

The pre-defined layouts created for reporting to parents this semester are provided as an .XML file, and contains the visual layout information used to produce the final report PDF document. These XML files can be imported into Sentral Academic Reports.

Ensure you have downloaded the appropriate XML template and saved it on your computer before proceeding with this step.

Creating a New Layout Template

 

This step can be safely done while data entry is under way with no risks. A layout will not change your data entry setup or affect any user data. 

Working on the same computer you have downloaded the XML file to, follow the steps below. These instructions assume you are already in Sentral in the Academic Reports module.

  1. Click Setup Academic Reports (if not already in that area)
  2. On the left-hand menu, navigate to Layout > Report Templates
  3. Click New Report Template
  4. Enter the name for the template (e.g. Semester 1 2020 COVID-19 Template). You may wish to include the template number in case you choose to upload several versions for testing.
  5. Click on the Import Template button
  6. Under Import Template, click the Choose File button and browse for the XML file
  7. Click Create Layout

At this stage the layout is now loaded into your school’s Sentral application.

new-report-layout

Figure 1 - The New Report Layout screen showing the Import Template data entry screen

Once imported, you should see an initial preview of the report layout:

template-preview

You can generate a live preview of the report by clicking the Preview link on the top-right, selecting your assessment schema in the pop-up, then clicking the Preview button.

Personalising Your Layout

Once the layout is created, you will likely want to add some finishing touches to the layout.

Applying Your School Colours

 

6.3.1 Applying your school colours

 

Many of the templates use a colour accents for headings and table colours. These can be updated within the Styles tab of the reports layout. Review the styles and edit them to adjust the colours by clicking the Edit icon next to each style, then adjusting them to suit.

Once you know the RGB code for the colour you want (you can use the colour picker built in, or paste it in from another program/website), it is easiest if you just paste the RRGGBB code into the relevant colour field. Do not include the leading # in front of the colour.

The main fields to focus on are Text Colour, Background Colour, and the Border options.

 

template-style

Editing the Report Introduction and Other Text

Most report templates will include one or more Text components which contain text content that will be included on every report. You may wish to edit some of this content to tailor it for your school requirements.

To do this:

  1. Click on the Design tab
  2. Hover over the relevant component you wish to edit, then click the Edit icon (pencil)
  3. Edit the wording as required, then click Save

edit-intro-text

Updating Your General Comment Selection

Depending on how your school has used General Comments in the past, you may find that you need to edit the layout to select the correct Comment Type that matches your General Comment type that was selected in the Assessment Schema.

A tell-tale sign that this is occurring is when your teachers have been able to enter the comment, but it fails to display on the printed report.

To do this:

  1. Click on the Design tab
  2. Hover over the relevant components until you find the Student Comment component, then click the Edit icon (pencil)
  3. In the Comment Type drop down, select the correct comment type (e.g. General, Principal, etc) that matches what you enabled on the schema. It may be already selected by default.
  4. Click Save. If all goes well it should appear in the preview whereas before it was blank. 

general-comments

comment-details

Inserting Digital Signatures

If your school normally uses digital signatures on your reports, you may choose to adjust the pre-defined template to include those.

The correct setup and use of digital signatures is an advanced topic, so unless you are already familiar with this and comfortable doing so on your own, we would discourage trying to introduce this feature for this specific reporting cycle.