During Registrar training we cover quite a bit of information about academic years, terms, assessment periods, student records, how to matriculate a student, curricula, and course templates. Our goal for this training is to give an advanced user a full breakdown of how to set up and understand their academic year, how to manage student records, and how to get the system set up so you can generate your courses and register students each school year with ease. (Don't worry we will break down each of these things for you!)
This helpful guide can be used as an aside to Registrar 1 training and can also serve as a help guide for reference when needed. This article, however, does not serve as a step-by-step instructional on how to set up your Academic Year. Please see Checklist for Rolling Over an Academic Year for further instruction. Here is what we will cover in this article.
- Academic Years, Terms, and Assessment Periods
- How to Matriculate a Student
- Curricula and Course Templates
Let's get started!
Academic Years, Terms, and Assessment Periods
What is an Academic Year?
Your Academic Year is, simply, your school year. The Academic Year is where you set up the begin and end dates of your school year, create and manage school days, pre-generate attendance records for students, and set up the number of terms and assessment periods that your school will use throughout the school year.
What is a Term?
Terms are tied to the Academic Year and are a specified period of time with beginning and end dates based on how you offer courses. For example, if your students take the same courses throughout the whole school year than you will have one term in your Academic Year; if your students take different courses in Fall and Spring than you will have two terms in your Academic Year. You can have as many terms as you need based on your school needs so some schools might have just one term that runs the full length of the school year, or a Fall and Spring term (like semesters), or maybe all three depending on your school's needs. These are just examples, though, and BigSIS is flexible so you can customize the number of terms your school needs.
What is an Assessment Period?
Assessment periods are tied to terms and are a duration of time where a student’s performance is evaluated (We won't refer to them this way but some schools might refer to these as grading periods). All assessment periods will be tied to a specific term, and you may have as many assessment periods per term as necessary for your school. For example, you may have a term that runs the full Academic Year. In this term, you could have an assessment period that ends on December 20th (mid-year progress reports) and another that ends on June 15th (end of year reports). This means that, in the first assessment period, the students will be assessed for what they completed up to December 20th and the grade will reflect what they have completed up to this date. In the second assessment period, they will be assessed for what they completed between December 20th and June 15th, but the grade will reflect the grade for the entire year.
Assessment periods also affect transcripts. Each term can have as many assessment periods you need but only one of them can be the "Is Final" assessment period. The "Is Final" assessment period is what dictates the final grade for a term. For example, if you have a fall term that has "Mid-term" and "End of Term" assessment periods, the "End of Term" assessment period will be marked as "Is Final" and therefore the final grade for the fall term will be pulled from that assessment period. The final grade from a term is what will be used on transcripts.
How to Matriculate a Student
Matriculation Status is the student's status at the school whether they are currently active, inactive, on exchange, deferred, graduated, or expelled. For example, maybe you have a student who is spending a month in France. You don't want to un-enroll that student, but you do want to keep track of the students coming and going to keep your rosters up-to-date.
From the Student Table...
- Edit a Student Record
- The Current Status section gives you an overview of the student's status including matriculation and enrollment. Click the Change Matriculation Status button
- Now you will be able to select the reason and the date for why they are leaving. If a student is leaving for any reason other than graduating you will use the "Select and Attrition Type" option. You may also add an optional reason for attrition and create an alumni record for them if desired. Last, you will want to choose an "Attrition Status for Academic Year and Term(s)." For this option, you will select when during the school year did this student leave. For example, after completing the whole year, or left during a term and therefore did not finish the school year or a term. (These options will help control some of the filtering for active/inactive students). Once you have completed these steps click on "Set Status" and the student record will be made inactive as of the date you entered.
Course Templates and Curricula
What are Course Templates?
Course Templates are what you will create as a "blueprint" for each course that you offer for each grade level each school year. This includes titles, teachers, descriptions, credits, and more. These templates will give a quick and easy way to create consistent courses on a yearly basis.
What are Curricula?
Curricula are what you will create to hold your Course Templates for each grade level so that you have an easy way to generate courses for each grade level each school year. For example, you might have a Curricula titled "Grade 1 Curricula" and this would hold all of the Course Templates that you would use for grade 1 on a yearly basis.
In Registrar 2 we will cover how to use your Curricula and Course Templates to generate courses for a school year. For now, we want you to concentrate on completing these two tasks and this will make course generation and auto-registering a breeze for all academic years to come!
NOTE: below are the instructions on how to create Curricula and Course Templates manually. Many schools will use the course template import to create course templates and this will be discussed during training. If your school discussed using the course template import follow these instructions to download the import file (Go to System > Imports > Course Template Imports). Once you have completed the file email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Step 1 - Add New Curricula
- Go to Courses > Curricula
- Click New
- Add a title.
User Tip: We recommend that you title your curricula based on the program you are creating it for. For example, something like "Grade 1 Curricula" or, simply, "Grade 1" for the first-grade program; "Grade 2 Curricula" for the second-grade program, etc.
- Click Save and Back
- Repeat steps 2 - 4 for each program you have.
Step 2 - Add Course Templates
- Go to Courses > Other > Course Templates
- Click New
- Add appropriate information for the template.
- Click Save and Back if you are NOT adding a teacher at the time you are adding this template.
Click Save and Continue if you ARE adding a teacher to this template at this time.
- To add teacher scroll down and the Teacher tab will be highlighted.
- Click New to add the teacher.
- Select the teacher from the Teacher drop-down menu.
- You will also add the teacher Application Role Type at this time. This field will default to "Teacher-Teacher" and you may edit that if you need to.
- Click Save and Back when you are done.
- Click Back and you are done with this template.
- Repeat steps 2 - 5 for each course template you are adding.
Step 3 - Add Course Templates to Curricula
- Go to Courses > Curricula
- Select and edit the curricula you want to add templates into. Reminder: You can double click on a record too anytime you want to edit it!
- Click New to add your templates to this Curricula.
- Select the appropriate course templates from the Course Template drop-down menu. User Tip: If you type in a number of the grade you are adding course templates for the course templates for that grade will populate in your list. For example, enter in a "1" and all of your grade 1 templates will populate into the menu; enter "2" for grade 2 templates, etc.
- Click Save and Add Another until you have added all of your templates. On the last template, you are adding for this Curricula you can click on Save and Back.
- Click Back and you are done with this Curricula!
- You will now want to complete the above steps for each additional Curricula you have.