Using Education Software to monitor & track student performance against learning intentions, success criteria and reporting progress to parents.
School News sat down with Acer to discuss education software and the SPAplatform.
There is a growing body of research which shows that teachers who:
- know where individual students are in their learning against a set of learning intentions and success criteria, and
- help students know what their next steps in learning are, are enabling significant increases in their students’ achievements.  
It is also vital that schools can confidently and accurately report back to parents, the progress made by their children.
ACER’s Centre for Assessment Reform and Innovation suggests that assessment should provide the informed starting point for establishing and understanding where learners are in their learning and enable long-term progress to be monitored. That is, assessment should promote a growth mind-set in our schools.
The vitial role
Schools now understand that education software can play a vital role in linking the needs of teachers, students and parents together to enable this tracking and reporting of what the learners know, understand and can do. The best assessment, reporting and data analytics software currently on the Australia market is SPAplatform. The SPAplatform is a series of secure, web-based education software programs that enable teachers to manage, analyse, display and report a large variety of formative and summative assessment data to:
- highlight where learners are in their learning with a great degree of diagnostic detail,
- evaluate the growth of learning or improvement that has occurred, and
- report individual progress back to parents in a formal report.
Since SPA’s initial release, over 1,500 schools across Australia are now consolidating much of their student performance data within the easy-to-use modules of the SPAplatform. With the increasing awareness that facilitating successful student learning can be informed by the analysis of assessment data, SPAplatform is becoming an essential tool in schools. As one Victorian principal, (Margaret Leach, Meadow Heights PS) recently stated:
“I am really impressed with SPA. I love its accessibility and I love the simplicity of the graphical displays – particularly the colour coding. It is very well designed, it’s really easy to use and it’s having a significant impact on how my teachers plan, instruction and monitor their students’ growth.”
Philosophy is fore front
The creative minds behind the SPAplatform modules are teachers. The company’s philosophy dictates that any tool developed for teachers, needs to be designed by teachers who understand the needs of teachers, students and the pressures of school environments. Philip Holmes-Smith & Emma MacNamara are the creative minds behind the software. They work in schools on a daily basis; supporting and working with teachers to analyse, interpret and use performance data to inform their teaching; and it is this practical experience that has informed the development of the SPAplatform.
You can find out more about the SPAplatform at www.spaplatform.com.au. Online demonstrations and demo versions of the education software are available for teachers and principals to explore some of the software’s major features.
 Dylan Williams, Embedded Formative Assessment, 2011
 John Hattie, Visible Learning, 2008