What are Focus Areas?
Focus areas can be used to evaluate specific aspects of teaching or other areas within a record, which then pull through to reports for analysis. They can be linked with outcome sets to provide a way of analysing performance in that area, or alternatively you can choose to not link them to an outcome set, and just use them as a comment box. Comment boxes can be added to any focus area, regardless of whether they have an outcome set assigned to them. Any comments entered on a focus area can be pulled through to the reports for analysis. You may have different combinations of focus areas within the same template:
- Focus areas with assigned outcome sets to allow you to assign an outcome for whole
lessons / different aspects of teaching.
- Focus areas with no assigned outcome set which concentrate on formative, written
|You must create relevant outcome sets BEFORE creating your focus areas! To find
out more about creating outcome sets, you can check out our guide here - Creating Outcome Sets for Focus Areas (Admin)
Creating a Focus Area
To create a focus area, click Admin > Templates > Focus Area > then click Create Focus Area.
Below we have covered the steps to create a focus area. The preview on the right hand side will update as you type/select details for the focus area, allowing you to see how the focus area will appear within a template.
You CANNOT change the outcome set associated to a focus area after it has been added to a template. Please ensure you select the correct outcome set here, if applicable.
- Add Criteria: If an outcome set has been selected, you can click ‘Add Criteria’ to enter information on what the observer/owner should consider when completing the record.
When you have finished making your selections, review the preview and then click 'Create'. Note - Limited changes can be made to a focus area once it is in use within a record. We highly recommend double checking the set up of the focus area before completing.
You can then repeat this, creating focus areas for each section of your template that you'd like to be visible in the reports.
Appendix - Example Focus Area
It’s completely up to you on how you set up your templates, and what kind of analysis you want to get from your reports. To give you an idea, we have provided an example below on setting up outcome sets and focus areas to analyse areas of strength and weakness.
The screenshot above is taken from the Reports area and shows tables for two outcome sets: Areas of Development and Areas of Strength. As you can see, these outcome sets have been set up using 10 different aspects of teaching that an observer might look for during an observation. Each has one focus area linked to it; ‘What Went Well?’ for Areas of Strength, and ‘Even Better If?’ for Areas of Development.
Using this setup, you can quickly analyse areas of strength and development, and use the report filters available in Observe to filter your data by department, team, and staff, for example. When you identify an area for development, you can click on the number count that you want to drill down into, which will take you through to the Details report, where you can see the related staff members and their records.
Below we have outlined how these focus areas were created:
- Create Outcome Sets
First, create two outcome sets: Areas of Strength and Areas for Development. It’s important that the outcomes you enter for these outcome sets are identical, so you can compare them in your reports. You can add up to 10 outcomes in an outcome set - see our article here - Creating Outcome Sets for Focus Areas (Admin).
- Create Focus Areas
Next, create your focus areas and link them to your newly created Areas of Strength and Areas for Development outcome sets. For example, you could create focus areas such as Strength, What Went Well, Areas for Development, Even Better If, etc.). You will need to create at least one focus area for each outcome set.
Q: Can I create more than one Focus Area per Outcome Set?
A: Absolutely! Simply name your focus areas appropriately and link them all to the same outcome set. For example, What Went Well 1, What Went Well 2, and What Went Well 3, would all be linked to the Areas of Strength outcome set. This will ensure that all data recorded using any of these focus areas will all be grouped together in your reports.
- Build a Template
Now that you have built your outcome sets and focus areas, all that’s left to do is add them to a template, and then you’re ready to start creating records!