In today’s data-driven world, schools and online school management software
need to make data-informed decisions to improve student outcomes. However, every school has unique data analysis needs based on their student demographics, programs offered, size, and strategic goals. Generic reporting templates in school management system ERPs often fall short in providing the level of customization required by schools to get actionable insights from their data.
The Need for Customizable Reports and Dashboards
Schools collect vast amounts of student data from various sources – attendance records, assessment scores, behavioral incidents, program enrollment, demographics and more. While school ERPs come equipped with standard reports, these reports have limitations:
- They provide a generalized view instead of focusing on specific school goals
- They lack flexibility to modify layouts, visualizations and data sets
- They do not allow combining data from multiple sources for a unified view
- They have limited ability to drill down into specifics or summarize at higher levels
Without custom reports and dashboards tailored to their needs, school administrators and teachers are unable to get meaningful insights to drive student improvement or operational efficiency.
Enabling Customization through School ERPs
Modern school management system ERP platforms provide various tools to enable schools to create customized reports and dashboards:
- Report Builder: User-friendly drag and drop report builder allows non-technical users to select data fields, choose layouts and output formats without coding.
- Ad hoc Reporting: Users can query the database to generate one-time reports on any parameters without IT help.
- Custom Fields: Admins can add custom data fields to capture information specific to their programs and needs.
- Data Integration: APIs and integrations allow combining data from various sources like assessment platforms, enrollment systems etc.
- Dashboards: Interactive and customizable dashboards can be built with charts, graphs and key metrics for different user roles.
- User Permissions: Granular user permissions allow secure access to reports and dashboards.
Key Focus Areas for Custom Reporting
Some key focus areas where schools can benefit from tailored reporting through their ERP platform:
- Progress monitoring for interventions
- Value-added growth and projections
- Cohort analysis by demographics
- Early warning systems
- Enrollment tracking
- Comparative analysis by site, teacher, section
- Survey data integration
- Staffing needs forecasting
- Budget variance tracking
- Custom scheduling scenarios
- Transportation route optimization
- Federal/state reporting
- Audit preparation
Recommended Best Practices
To maximize the benefits of custom analytics, schools should follow these best practices:
- Foster a data-driven culture and provide user training.
- Start with key stakeholder needs and work backwards.
- Focus on actionability and decision making.
- Keep visualizations simple and intuitive.
- Automate refreshing of data sources.
- Implement role-based access and data security.
The ability to create tailored reports and dashboards is critical for schools to unlock the full potential of the data within their ERP systems. As school management platforms continue to evolve their analytics capabilities, educational institutions must take advantage of these tools to meet their unique analytics needs. With the right orientation towards a data-driven approach, schools can enable data-informed decision making at all levels to drive student success.
Q1. Can standard reports in school ERPs be customized?
A1. Most modern school ERPs allow some level of customization of standard reports such as changing field labels, reordering columns, and filtering data. However, creating completely custom reports often requires using report builder tools.
Q2. What skill level is needed to create custom reports and dashboards?
A2. Many ERP platforms are designed for non-technical users to create reports and dashboards through drag-and-drop interfaces and templates. However, integrating data from multiple sources may require IT skills.
Q3. What are some key metrics to include in school ERP dashboards?
A3. Common dashboard metrics are student enrollment trends, demographics breakdown, academic performance indicators, financial budget status, resource utilization, and student:teacher ratios. Metrics should align to the school’s strategic priorities.
Q4. How can custom reports help with compliance needs?
A4. Custom reports can be designed to pull together required data points for state, federal, and agency reporting in required formats for audits and filings. Automating these reports ensures accuracy and timeliness.
Q5. What are the risks of too many customized reports?
A5. Custom report proliferation without governance can lead to inaccessible data, inaccurate metrics, and lack of single source of truth. Schools should aim for standardized reports across campuses and programs where possible.