In my school, we have ‘formative comments’ books which are A4 lined, hardbacked books with a few pages per pupil that are used to record assessments, observations etc. This book enables us to have somewhere to easily store and access information about each pupil ready for parents evenings, meetings or any other occasion when it is useful to have access to a pupils assessment information. For years we have used books and while useful, take a long time to update and often have duplicated information from other sources such as books which is a waste of resources.
I have used Evernote for a few years as a way of recording notes from meetings, or reminders for myself. The notes are synced between the apps on my phone and iPad as well as the web site so it makes it brilliant as I can access my thoughts and notes anywhere, it’s also great as I tend to take a photo of any paperwork given out in staff meetings, save it as a note and then throw the piece of paper away. That way I never loose anything important.
There are 2 versions of Evernote, I have only ever used the free version and that has always been enough so i definitely recommend starting there.
How I Use It
The way I see I see it there are 2 ways to use Evernote for recording assessment/information, notes and tags.
1. The simplest way is to set up a class notebook (mine is 4MD) and within that create a note for each pupil. Within those notes you can record anything you want, you can type, takes photos of work, screenshots from digital sources or record audio. Whatever you do is automatically saved and synced across devices. And that’s it, how simple is that, no more duplicating information. The only downside is the note could become rather big over the year and therefore you could try organising it the second way.
2. This is a bit more complicated but has more benefits and in the long run can prove more useful. Still create a notebook for your class, but don’t create an individual note for each pupil, instead you are going to create an individual note for each pupil and each assessment task.
For example, an English assessment task completed in their books, photograph each pupils work in a new note and name it with the pupils name and what it is. Now the next part is important, Evernote will allow you to tag notes, so tag each note with 2 tags, the pupil’s name and the name of the work. In practical terms, I would open a note called Mark Autumn English, photograph my work and tag it, ‘Mark’ ‘English Autumn’.
Hope you’re following, here’s the explanation of why do it the second way. This way will create a huge amount of notes, if you have 30 children in your class and 12 assessment over the years, you do the Maths. As this stands, it wouldn’t be much help having to look through the hundreds of notes to find the one you want. This is where the tags come into effect because you can search by tags, so if you wanted to see all the work from Mark, you would search for tags ‘Mark’. Bingo, you can now see all notes for ‘Mark’ over the year ready for report writing etc. The other way to work it is to search for all ‘Autumn English’, this will bring up each pupils English Assessments from Autumn allowing you to group children etc.
I’m sure you can take these ideas even further and make it even more complex but for starters I think this works well, last year I tried out method 1, but am planning on using method 2 this year. Of course every school will have different ways of recording assessments but for ease of use and simplicity this works really well.