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help description: For people wanting to know how PRAMS is looking after its first year help content:
PRAMS was first released back in January 2010. Over the following months a number of minor upgrades were issued, dealing with bugs and useability issues. Then just after Easter the system was substantially upgraded to enable small patches and fixes to be applied to the program automatically (ie without a new installation).
Work began during the summer to implement a substantial design and feature upgrade. This was released in October 2010 and has been very popular. The most recent release has implemented a new reports system which is faster and more flexible than the first.
Current status and issues
Some users reported, after the first release, that they were unable to complete the installation. The error reported was 'Connection Unavailable'.
The cause for this was identified as being due to the use of proxy servers - usually by users working within organisations such as local authorities, or with equipment hired or loaned from a larger employer. This issue is now resolved - users can enter their proxy server details in the PRAMS launcher screen. Any users who have had the 'Connection Failed' message should upgrade to the latest version of PRAMS by visiting this page.
PRAMS for Mac
We were unable to provide a working version of PRAMS for Mac users for some considerable time. However, this issue is now also resolved, although due to Apple's policy of not allowing newer versions of Java to be used on older operating systems, you will need to be running the Snow Leopard version of Mac's OS.
Features added with PRAMS 2
You can find an overview of PRAMS on this page, including a link to a video overview, but for those who are still using the first PRAMS version, here is a list of the most significant new features:
- New and much more flexible appearance, with navigation much improved.
- Image library feature, to allow evidence in the form of photographs to be added and managed.
- Notes and images can now be added to any judgements made.
- 'Refinements' can be optionally used, to break down age bands into accomplishment levels - eg 'emerging' 'developing' and 'secure'.
- Analysis tabs give extra information for individual children, such as whether they are achieving outside their actual age bands; whether they have been left unassessed for two or more assessment periods.
- Hints and tips for observations you might like to carry out in those areas you haven't recently assessed for a child.
New Reports System
For those of you who have been waiting to use the new Reports system, this is now available. PRAMS should notify you that it is available next time you open it. You can find some documentation and instructions on the initial set of reports available here, and also a practitioner's eye view of how you may find them useful.
We'd like to hear from you about PRAMS. Feedback has already led to many enhancements, and only with your encouragement and involvement will we be able to improve the program in the ways it needs to be improved.By Guest,
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help description: It's all very well making lots of different reports, but unless you have some idea of how to use them they can be a bit perplexing. Here's our attempt to explain how you might like to use them. help content:
Child Assessment Report
This is very likely going to be the first report you will be interested in examining, whether you are a key person, room leader, manager or EYP. For an individual child, you can clearly see at a glance where you have made assessments for each aspect of the six areas of learning and in which age-band those assessments have been placed.
A helpful visual aid is included; the child's actual age is reflected in a shaded column so that you can identify quickly where the child is operating below, within or above his chronological age. If the child is, for example, 24 months of age, there are two shaded columns; the 16-26 months band and the 22-36 months band.
If you have chosen to use refinements within the age-bands (e.g. emerging, developing and secure) these will show up on the report as one, two or three ticks within a circle icon.
This report will give key persons the assessment information required to plan for each child's individual needs as they will be able to see where exactly the child might need additional support to overcome difficulties, or where the child might need some specific challenging activities to further develop an area of strength.
The child assessment report is particularly useful for sharing with parents on a termly, biannual, or annual basis, with or without the additional notes and photographs, to celebrate the child's achievements and identify areas that might need some additional support.
Children Operating Outside Age Band Report
This report will tell you, for each aspect within the six areas of learning, which children are operating in age-bands below and above their actual ages.
The information is presented in a bar chart where the numbers of children operating below their actual age are in purple, numbers of children operating at actual age are in blue, and numbers of children operating above their actual age are in green.
Underneath each bar chart (eg for each aspect) there is a table listing the children who are operating outside of their actual age-band. For each child, you are informed which age-band they have been assessed as, and their actual age in months.
This report is particularly useful for planning purposes. You will be able to see which children you might wish to plan specific support for; for example, there may be a child or group of children who have been assessed as operating in the 16-26 months band for language and communication and their actual ages are 30+ months. You may decide to offer targeted support for these children and assess them all again within a specified period of time.
Similarly, you would able to plan challenging activities and experiences for those children identified as operating within age-bands above their actual age.
Whilst you might not wish to consider all 28 aspects at the same time (the printed report will be many pages long potentially!), a suggested use is to focus on one area of learning at a time, perhaps considering two or three aspects. By careful study of the children achieving below and above their actual ages a deeper engagement in reflective practice between staff groups may result, leading to action planning for the development of certain curriculum areas or aspects. For example, if there appears to be a large number of children operating below their actual age in, say, designing and making, then you may need to look at how your setting provides activities and experiences for the children in this aspect. Staff training might be identified as a priority, or the development of accessible resources for the children. Reflecting on practice, both as an individual and with colleagues, would hopefully lead to improved provision in this aspect, and fewer children operating in age-bands below their actual ages.
Group Assessment Report
There will be times when you would like to compare two groups of children within an aspect. If you have a particular interest in the creative curriculum, for example, you may want to look at how boys and girls perform within the "Developing imagination and imaginative play aspect". Alternatively, you may have a desire to investigate whether your children with English as an additional language (EAL) are achieving well in "Exploration and investigation" and are fully accessing the curriculum compared with your children for whom English is their first language. If the two groups you are comparing are significantly different, you are then able to use this information to develop your provision, perhaps through targeted specialist training for staff or through reviewing and making changes to the learning environment.
The group assessment report will identify the percentage of children operating in an age-band containing or above their actual age. For example, it might show that for "exploration and investigation", 35% of your children with EAL and 75% of your children for whom English is their first language are operating within or above their actual ages. You may decide that this is a significant difference and want to address the problem, perhaps through targeted specialist training for staff or through making changes to the learning environment. Assessments carried out within a future assessment period would hopefully identify an increased percentage of children with EAL achieving well.
Individual Progress Report
Periodically, you will want to know details about each child's progress over time, and the individual progress report will give you this information. After selecting two assessment periods (e.g. autumn term and summer term) you will be able to see exactly where the child has developed well (e.g. by being assessed at a higher age-band or refinement in the second of your chosen assessment periods), or where the child appears to be having difficulties in a particular aspect (e.g. by being assessed at a lower age-band or refinement in the second of your assessment periods).
The assessments are presented in two columns; "before" (the judgements made in the assessment period you have chosen as the first one) and "after" (the judgements made in the second assessment period you have selected). If the child is operating within an age-band that contains his actual age, the boxes are in blue. If s/he is operating in an age-band above his actual age, the box is green. If s/he is operating in an age-band below his or her actual age, the box is red. "Not assessed" also appears as a red box, so that you can see clearly where assessments might usefully be planned for in the future.
The individual progress report also tells you where you have assessed the child for a particular aspect in one assessment period but not in the other, and you will then be able to decide whether or not to carry out further observations and assessments in that aspect for that child. Perhaps the child does not engage much with that aspect in your setting; you will be able to give this more thought and come to a decision about providing adult-led activities for this child in the aspect concerned.
From a managerial stance, this information would also be useful; it may identify key persons who do not carry out many observations or assessments in certain aspects. You might then consider whether or not to provide the key persons with additional support in providing suitable experiences or in observing and assessing children in the aspect.
Group Progress Report
This report tells us which children we should have concerns about. It identifies children who, over two assessment periods and for each aspect, have:
- stayed in the same age-band which is below their actual age
- ascended one or more age-bands yet remain in an age-band which is below their actual age
- descended an age-band
All of these scenarios are causes for concern, to differing degrees. Children in group 3 above, albeit hopefully a rare event, would need immediate attention and reasons for their apparent lack of progress identified. Children in group 1 above would be the next priority; these children again do not appear to be making any progress although if refinements (emerging, developing and secure) have not been used, the children might be making small steps of progress yet this is not being picked up by the analysis as the age-bands are very large and can cover extensive time periods.
Children in group 2 above are making progress, although they are still operating in age-bands below their actual age. Further supportive experiences should be identified and planned. Any or all of the children in these three groups might need IEPs created and regularly reviewed. At the very least, staff should be clear as to the next steps for these children, and key persons and management should have regular discussions about individualised planning to support the children in the specified aspects.
Assessment Thoroughness Report
This report is a management tool for identifying the percentage of children who have been assessed within each aspect and area of learning. You are able to select which groups of children you are interested in, for example, boys. girls, children with SEN or EAL, specific cohorts, etc.
As a leader or manager, you will probably want to set a minimum percentage of children to be assessed. Clearly the more children assessed, the more accurate the analyses will be across all group reports.
This report will tell you which aspects are the least assessed. For example, you may discover that 60% of girls and 10% of boys have been assessed in "linking sounds and letters". This will flag up a couple of possibilities:
- Fewer boys engage in sounds and letters activities and therefore observations and assessments are likely to be fewer.
- Staff make fewer observations and assessments for boys in this aspect.
Either way, you will want to look at possible reasons why only 10% of boys have been assessed in this aspect and adapt policy and practice accordinglyBy Guest,
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help description: The reports area of PRAMS is quite flexible but also quite involved. Here are some pointers to getting out of it what you expect. help content:
Generating Reports with PRAMS 2
This section will teach you how to generate reports, which reports are suited for different sections and how to save, view and print your reports.By Guest,
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- 2,512 views
help description: The first draft of the PRAMS 2 userguide help content:
The PRAMS Userguide is available from the FSF Resource Library. FSF subscribers can download it from this page.By Guest,
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- 3,509 views