This guide will take you through usage of a suite of interactive reports which contain assessment performance data for your LA / school.
NCER Nova Reports (for LA users of NCER NEXUS) and Reports (Nova) (for school users of Perspective Lite) are effectively the same reporting tool and much of the guidance regarding their use is interchangeable. For ease of reference this guide will refer to them simply as ‘Nova Reports’. Where there are differences for school and LA users, those will be highlighted.
Like the rest of Perspective Lite and NCER NEXUS, Nova reports can be run on any device but you may find that the screen is re-ordered to best-fit the device. For this reason where this guide shows or refers to controls appearing on the left or right of the screen, you may find that they are actually above or below other screen elements when making use of a tablet or phone.
What is Nova reporting?
Nova reports allow the user to query, view and export statutory assessment data. Some of this data is submitted by (primary) schools to the Local Authority as part of a statutory duty, some is based on school choice to submit to the LA and the rest is provided by the DfE either to the Local Authority or the system suppliers.
For primary statutory assessments, NEXUS/Perspective Lite provides the earliest analysis of results nationally for schools and Local Authorities – with emerging NCER National comparisons – that is available, several months ahead of any DfE publication.
When is Nova reporting available?
For the primary phase, NCER Nova reporting becomes available as soon as the data is submitted and loaded into the NCER NEXUS system (which Local Authorities use to process statutory assessment (and other) submissions):
- EYFSP, Key Stage 1 and Phonics this information will typically start to be available during June each year once submitted by the school.
- Key Stage 2 data from the DfE is typically loaded into the system in the second week of July when released to Local Authorities.
- Key Stage 4 data – the first cuts are typically loaded in October.
Revised and Final versions of Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4 and 5 data are made available during the year as released by DfE
Access to NCER Reports (Nova)
Nova reports are enabled by the Local Authority Performance Data Team for each school. Once activated by the LA, the Perspective Lite administrator account within the school assigns individual user permissions.
NCER Nova reports access is controlled by members of staff with the Can Add, Delete and Manage Users permission.
How to run a Nova report
Users of Perspective Lite will log into the system and go to the menu option:
LA Services > Reports (NCER NOVA)
Users of NEXUS will log into the system and go to the menu option:
NCER Nova > Reports
Key differences between school and LA reports
- School reports will only show data for the users own school (plus comparisons for Local Authority, DfE Region and NCER National)
Local Authority reports
- LA reports will show data for any school submitting to that LA. List format reports will show all schools, pre-setup groups of schools or any single school (plus comparisons for Local Authority, DfE Region and NCER National)
- LA reports (for authorised users) also include the option to run reports on the Virtual School (Children Looked After) and CiN (Child in Need) cohorts.
Aside from the ability to select different schools (or groups of schools) LA functionality is largely identical to that of schools using Perspective Lite.
Selecting the report you wish to run
On the main reports page, you have access to filters to select the Year and Key Stage of the report you want to run. This will narrow down the selection in the preview below. All users would be advised to select the year first, before any other choices, as the main reports page refreshes based on the year selected to only provide reports that are valid for that year.
The year defaults to the current and most recent reporting year.
If you already know the name of the report you want to run – or if you want to see all reports of a certain type (e.g. list reports), you can type in a key word in the ‘Title’ field and further narrow the selection.
The button on each report provides a report description that tells you a little more about the report and what it is useful for.
Reports for EYFSP, Key Stage 1 and Phonics can be run using the red button. They only have one possible data source which cannot be changed unless your LA has collected and loaded Predicted data.
Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4 reports have the option of two different data sources when running a report (three if your LA has collected and loaded Predicted data). It will usually default to the ‘best’ data source specified by your LA Data Team. Keypas data will return data such as files from schools or made available to the Local Authority by the DfE. NPD will return data that has come direct from the DfE at a later stage (usually a more finalised version of the data).
Further options around data sources may need to be selected in the report, but those selected before the report is run will limit what is available in the report. In general you should select the most up to date and ‘final’ version of the data that is available.
More information on Data Sources can be found in the Data Sources article in this guide.
Click on Run to generate the report.
Viewing and configuring the report
It may take a few seconds to generate the report after clicking ‘Run’, this is because the report is querying the database and may be looking at well over half a million records for some NCER National comparisons.
The report will show you live data for the school and the Local Authority (pupil level reports will display the first page of pupils).
In some cases default view may be all that you need if all you needed was the school’s top level result. In most cases you will want to amend the configuration of the report.
You can use the Hide Parameters button to show more of the preview by hiding the filters, aggregations and setting area. Click it again to bring them back.
Most reports (except pupil reports) will allow you specify which ‘rows’ you want to see on the report. The selected rows will display any, some or all of the following:
- Show NCER National – The NCER National results for groups specified in the report/all pupils
- Show LA – The LA results for the groups specified in the report/all pupils
- Show Schools – For school users this is just the result for their school. For LA users it will include results for all schools or groups of schools that have been specified in the reports
- Show DfE Region – The results for the DfE Region that the School/Local Authority is situated in (only your region is available)
Recommendation – For most purposes you will want to ensure that the ‘NCER National’ row is enabled as that is the accountability comparison for schools and Local Authorities. This is disabled by default to improve the response time of the initial page preview.
All reports include pupil filters, allowing you to filter on several different census based characteristics such as gender, disadvantaged status and SEN Status.
The most commonly used filters are already displayed but you can use more by clicking See More Pupil Filters (and hide them again by clicking the button again.)
As you would expect pupil filters exclude all the groups that are not included by the selection. Pupil filters are also cumulative. The more filters you apply, the more pupils are excluded (and the smaller the number of included pupils becomes). For example:
I apply a filter to see only boys. Girls are excluded from all results on the report. I then add a filter to only include Disadvantaged pupils. Once applied I am only viewing results for Boys who are also disadvantaged. All other pupils are excluded.
List style reports include functionality to apply aggregations to the display of the data. This allows you to select a pupil group and aggregate the results by that grouping. For example:
I apply the gender aggregation to my report. The results for each row that I have opted to display now are displayed showing the total for the row and then split by male and female pupils.
You can apply up to two levels of aggregations, allowing you to subdivide one grouping by another and provide aggregated data:
After I have looked at the gender aggregated report, I decide that I would further like to see the split – within the genders – for Disadvantaged pupils. I select Disadvantaged under Aggregate 2. Now the results are displayed showing the total for the row and the split by Male – Disadvantaged and Non-disadvantaged and the by Female disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged.
Using aggregations allows you to include for groups that would otherwise take 4 or more filtered reports to provide. This is both more efficient but also more user friendly for the user and anyone else consuming the report.
Recommendation – In list style reports it is generally more useful to use aggregations rather than re-running reports to get results for different members of the same pupil grouping.
Combining filters and aggregations
You can apply both filters and aggregations to list style reports. For example:
I have established that a key area of interest for the school/LA is School Support (SEND K) pupils, however I would like to provide a report that is then split by gender. By applying the filter for School Support, I’ve excluded all other pupils. By then aggregating those remaining School Support pupils by gender I can see the breakdown between girls and boys.
Trend report options
Trend style reports are amongst the most flexible of NCER Nova reports in that they can be filtered as described above, display 3+ years of data but also allow you to pick the indicators you wish to display. For example, the Key Stage 1 Trend report allows you to pick one, some or all of the following indicators.
Recommendation: Unless you need all of them, it is more user friendly in terms of reading the report to limit the number of key indicators you choose to display, however you can show all if you wish to do so.
Other report options
Some reports provide other options to users. These vary from report to report but may include the following:
- Sorting (for example by setting name or key headline result values)
- Focus domains and/or comparator domains (picking the level of reporting that you are interested in and what you want to compare it to – for example you could select to view the school results and compare them to LA or NCER National). Focus domain is typically found in ‘Key Stage on a page’ style reports and comparator domains in Trend style reports
- Subject can be selected in ‘subject summary list’ style reports. It will default to reading in most cases but needs to be updated if you wanted to report on another subject
- Children looked after specific filters and aggregations apply only to Local Authority reports designed for the Virtual School but operate in the same way as those described above
- Gap grouping types and filters can be selected in ‘gap analysis’ style reports. For example if you decided to run a report on the SEND Provision Codes grouping type then the Grouping Filters would update to offer the option to compare one of the SEND codes that you would to any other SEND code, unknown, all pupils who were not in grouping filter 1 or all pupils. This flexibility sounds complicated but the value is in allowing you to choose – for example – to either make the more useful comparison or to make the formal accountability comparison.
- For example, in the screen shot below I have selected SEND code K as grouping 1. The report then offers to let me compare - in grouping 2 - that group to All Pupils, All pupils who are NOT that group or any of the other SEND code groups.
Applying your selections
Filters and aggregations that have been selected turn orange around the border. This indicates that they have been selected but not yet applied to the report.
Once you have selected all of your options, click Apply All
The report will then refresh. This will take a few seconds to process as it is a live update of the data for the criteria that you have selected. If you have selected the NCER National row as a comparison then the report will take a little longer to run than if it was just school(s) and LA.
Exporting the report
Though you may be happy to read the data from the screen, there will be occasions on which you will wish to export the information provided. To do so click the Export button.
The export button offers you three export format options: Word, Excel and PDF.
- PDF exports cannot be amended or worked with by most users
- Word exports faithfully replicate the look of the report, but allow the option for the document to be edited in Word – this is more suitable for situations where you would want to add in larger volumes of text or to copy and paste to another word document
- Excel exports also attempt to faithfully replicate the look of the report, but allow the document to be edited in Excel. As a spreadsheet the numbers provided can be worked with in formula etc. It should be noted that in order to retain the appearance of the preview report, the excel export contains a lot of merged and hidden rows and columns that can make it more difficult to treat the output as a ‘typical’ table of data in a spreadsheet. The Table functionality in Analysis (Insight) may be more suitable)
Resetting the report
It is important, if continuing to use the same report for a further query, to remember to check/change filters, aggregations and other settings you may have applied. It can be easy to accidentally leave a report filtered to a certain group, apply a new filter without removing the first one and then get the wrong results without even noticing.
You can either reset the filters and aggregations manually or preferably click the Reset button to remove all the settings and return to the default setting.
Recommendation – Get into the habit of using the ‘reset’ button. It is faster than either making a mistake or reloading the report from the main report menu page.
Queries about data in Nova reports
In the first instance raise any queries about the data and results shown in NCER Nova reports with your Local Authority Performance Data Team.
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