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Student Management Systems

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Started by Erana Kihi 29 May 2015 11:33am () Replies (22)

Which Student Management System is better for schools that range from Yr 1-Yr 13 and why?






  • Lisa Ferris (View all users posts) 29 May 2015 3:47pm ()

    Very interested in this topic.  We are also currently looking at a change in our SMS.  We are currently using Musac but find it tired and slow.  I have been told by many senior managers that they are using etapp with great success.  

  • LEAST (View all users posts) 07 Jun 2015 11:13am ()

    I am also very interested in this topic. I have recently taken an elearning leadership role and the school will be looking at moving away from knowledgenet soon. I have used Musac, edge and KAMAR in previous schools and tend to find them cumbersome for teachers to add to without a lot of training. Currently I utilise google docs for assignment delivery and need to explore data collection in more detail however etap looks promising as well. 

    As for reporting I am enjoying using an unconnected standalone format that we support with individual assessment result reports as attachments.

  • Andy Ashworth (View all users posts) 02 Jul 2015 12:04am ()

    Hi, I am a huge believer in KAMAR, As a secondary school I believe it can provide us with all the data we can possibly wish for and anything it does not do , a simple call and the KAMAR team will put it in place for us.

    It has hugely improved our reporting processes, now weekly, and use of data tracking (I chose not to go with ART), our student and parent portal information and our subject selections and timetabling.

    I employed a database manager(part time) and this is probably the best $30,000i have spent in recent years. 

  • Hamish Hislop (View all users posts) 29 May 2015 3:53pm ()

    I taught in an Area school and we used Kamar. It was really good for the secondary school but average for the junior school. At that time it was hosted on our school servers and was not accessible outside of the school environement. I know there are work arounds for this and changes might have been made with KAMAR. I am currently teaching in a year 1-6 primary using ETAP. This is great. It is hosted online and really simple to use. I dont know how a secondary school would get on with it, especially with NZQA links ect. I like the fact I can get access to our SMS from home, out of school on EOTC trips or wherever I needed it. Tech support is available to everyone promptly from within ETAP and the training provided has been first class. I would recommend ETAP but if it will not support NZQA then another online SMS will be the way to go.

  • Caroline Transom (View all users posts) 02 Jun 2015 11:15am ()



    We use MUSAC but I would love to hear from those using other systems and their strengths and weaknesses- especially if anyone has used MUSAC and another system.

    I do not know how MUSAC will work soon with the need for an OTJ in reading and maths as our is currently recorded separately under headings like geometry, language features, sentence structure etc which give us much better information to help target teaching.

  • Rebecca Ronald (View all users posts) 02 Jun 2015 11:52am ()

    We also are looking into whether to shift from Musac to Edge or something else. Am keen to hear other people's experiences with this decision, or with a changeover.


  • Hamish McLean (View all users posts) 02 Jun 2015 12:02pm ()

    We have looked at changing from eTap to another provider.  Were excited at what the new software offered us, but then got someone from eTap to come in and show us what eTap can do.  SO much more than we knew or thought about.

    As far as reporting goes, we use eTap for data collection and graphing etc, but for reports we have chosen to go down the path of a live document.  Meet with students 2-4 times per term and have learning conversation with them.  Then when parents want to come in, the report is already done.  Students discuss their learning with parents.  Teachers are there, but are basically just confirming what the students have said.  Eventually this will change when parents begin to accept that the reporting format has changed from teacher driven to student driven.

  • cathie zelas (View all users posts) 02 Jun 2015 12:21pm ()

    Hi Hamish

    Your comment is really interesting and relevant for our school. we currently use etap and are about to review and then improve our reporting systems. 

    What are some examples of the things you discovered that etap could do?

    We currently use etap for our mid and end of year written reports but are not happy with this and want, like you, to move to a format that is more of a live document. What are you using for doing this? Google docs?



  • Hamish McLean (View all users posts) 02 Jun 2015 12:37pm ()

    Yes google docs.  Been a GAFE school for 4/5 years now i think.

    Its our first attempt at using docs as a live document for reporting, and some very different thinking for us as far as reports go.  I'd share an example of a report with you, but as I said its in the very beta, and will no doubt change.  We have 3 reports, as our open learning environment has three teachers.  Mine is still being developed (learner profile), the Math and Literacies one is completed.

    As far as eTap is concerned, I'm not sure if you were aware of the learner hub.

    Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 12.39.54 pm.png

    Its a visual representation of students in your class.  You can then see their results in all areas that have been added to eTap, as well as the whole class results.  Great when putting that data on a doc.  Although id much rather it be integrated into google docs...   will that ever happen?  hmmm.. 

  • cathie zelas (View all users posts) 02 Jun 2015 12:48pm ()

    Hi Hamish

    Thanks so much. Yes were are aware of, and use, the learner hub. It's such a pity etap doesn't have the facility for a parent portal so the live reporting and data for a child are all in one place rather than having to run two systems.

    How do you report on National Standards to parents? Do you use etap for this or incorporate into your google docs?

    Our school is all collaborative 3 teacher spaces so, like you, we will need a system that all the teachers can access for the students they are working with. Sounds like you are just a bit further down the track from us, so if any stage you do feel comfortable sharing, that would be great!



  • Di Raynes (View all users posts) 02 Jun 2015 12:54pm ()

    Hi Cathy

    eTAP does have a parent portal where parents can access all the information on students as well as assessment data and reports. All you have to do is ask them to open it up for you. And it's free! You can also send text messages via eTAP so essentially everything is all in one place. eTAP are continually upgrading and adding new features. They are happy to trial anything alongside schools. I know one school is trialling children's portfolio's on eTAP.


    Di :)

  • Hamish McLean (View all users posts) 02 Jun 2015 12:58pm ()

    Nat standards are reported in that same three documents that we have.

    This is what our DP and Marama team leader have put together.  (Y7/8)  

    This is an example of Math report.  So the student and teacher sit down and have a 15/20 min conference.  The teacher writes down the students points, while the student also has the doc open on their chromebook.  The student can then add or edit as they see fit.

    Its very early stages, and next year I imagine it will be different too... tweaked.. 

    Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 12.53.42 pm.png




  • Paul Sibson (View all users posts) 02 Jun 2015 1:03pm ()

    Hi Cathy, Di and Hamish

    We had a similar problem a few years ago (we were using eTap) and really wanted to change our reporting to online, ongoing and 'live' for parents to see and interact with. We built our own system to handle this and was so successful that other schools have now taken it on. We then integrated a SMS into the system so that we didn't need to run 2 systems. We renamed the system LINC-ED and are now ministry approved and expanding. www.linc-ed.com

    Happy to share how we report and how easy it is to share and connect to google docs.



  • Chris Meehan (View all users posts) 17 Jul 2015 10:39pm ()

    Paul I have checked out your website and blog several times in the past few days, and really like the sound of what you have to offer. You have certainly done a lot of thorough work at the coal face which is going to make the uptake of this SMS very logical for schools I would assume.
    I am just wondering if the SMS you have created:
    1. does all of the basic SMS stuff like attendance, and all of the various registers (health, class lists, ethnicity...), accounting facilities etc.
    2. would align with Hapara Teacher Dashboard and what it does between teacher and learner - in other words can they go together?
    Really interested to see your response thank you.

  • Paul Sibson (View all users posts) 20 Jul 2015 4:08pm ()

    Hi Chris.

    Glad you like the look of the website and blog.

    1. Yes ;-)

    2. Yes, to a point, our teachers can connect to google directly from their LINC-ED account and embed any docs etc so that it is quick to share these learning artefacts with parents (without the need to worry about permissions). A demo would explain this more clearly. 

    If you would like to find out more/ have demo please either send us your email via the website or via this thread. 



  • Hamish McLean (View all users posts) 02 Jun 2015 1:31pm ()

    Hi Paul,

    We had a rep from LINC-Ed come to our school, and our Sen staff loved a lot of the features.  This made us explore eTap more.  We are no better off to making a decision of what else we want from a SMS.  Unfortunately I was away on this day, so didn't get a chance to see what or how LINC-ED is structured.  It certainly looks like a better graphic interface than eTap.

  • Paul Sibson (View all users posts) 17 Jul 2015 9:57am ()

    Hi Hamish,

    Somehow I managed to miss that you had replied to me, sorry ;-{ 

    Shame you were away when we presented to you, let me know if you are interested in having a look yourself as I believe we have a solution that will meet all your needs (especially around reporting that is ongoing and student led). 

    Anyway let me know if you want to see more.




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