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Refreshing from the school MIS – how often?

Posted in Managing Data

We are often asked how often a school should refresh CASPA’s basic pupil data from the school MIS (eg SIMS, Integris G2).  In summary, our advice is that, as a minimum, you should refresh the basic pupil data in CASPA at least once each term.

Your basic pupil data is the non-assessment data that is held for each pupil.  This basic pupil data identifies which pupils are on roll this year, and includes details such as name, date of birth and UPN as well as seriously useful attributes such as entitlement to Free School Meals (FSM), ethnicity, first language, etc.  These provide you with key information and also allow you to compare groups such as progress for your Looked After cohort compared to non-Looked After.

It is perhaps obvious that these details change during the year; not only might there be new admissions and leavers, but there are, surprisingly often, corrections to details for existing pupils.  Amendments to dates of birth, name spellings, changes to FSM status, and even gender are seen.  So make sure your basic pupil data is up to date, so that your analysis in CASPA is based on accurate and up to date details.

Although it is impossible to be definitive about how often you should update the basic pupil data in CASPA, we can guide you on some minimum frequencies and steer you to make the right decision for your school.

The main factor to consider is the frequency with which this data changes in your school MIS.  Most schools will experience changes in the data every term, whether corrections or changes in your school population.  If you have a relatively stable on-roll cohort, you may find you can refresh CASPA less often than schools which see new admissions/leavers throughout the year.  Equally, if you are about to carry out an update of your assessment data, or use a range of analysis, perhaps preparing for a visit by external agencies, it makes sense to ensure that all pupils are reflected accurately in CASPA.

So there you are; do it at least once each term, more often if you are aware changes have taken place.