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What is it?

How many games are included in the Smart Cat Profiling tool?

There are thirteen in total.

What areas are covered?

The games assess skills that underpin reading, spelling, mental arithmetic, social functioning, language use, motor control and memory, as well as hearing and colour vision.

So, for what age exactly is the resource aimed at?

At the moment it is aimed at 4-5 year olds. Typically this would be children in the Reception year class but it is also applicable to children at Key Stage 1 and children who are older with SENs.

What can Smart Cat Profiling do, which other resources on the market can't?

An evaluation by TEEM of Smart Cats with two other frequently used resources on the market is now available. This was completed in July 2007. Click here to view this.

How many / how much time?

If a child played all thirteen games, how many Foundation Stage points would be completed?

The quick answer is none - we do not recommend or sell the resource as an easy option for completing the FSP. However: it is designed to gather valuable evidence to support judgements made on over 30% of the FSP.

How many times would you expect a child to play each game?

We would recommend that a child completes each game just once, per term. There are exceptions however to this: if you thought that Jonny hadn't done as well as you would have expected in the Emotional Recognition game for example, you can re-set the game for him to play it again. We don't recommend that the children play the games continuously however, because obviously results could be skewed once they become that familiar with what happens.

So if every child completed each game, how many would you recommend in any one session?

We would recommend that no more than three games were completed in any one session.

How long, on average, does it take for me to set up the resource in readiness for a class?

On average it takes approximately 20 minutes to set up a class of 30 children. The Screen Learning Team however is happy to register the children for you if it helps. Please email an excel spreadsheet detailing the names, dates of birth, any SENS if applicable, and EAL also if applicable to info@screenlearning.com

How much supervision is required by me as a teacher?

Smart Cat Profiling in general, requires very little assistance or oversight by a teacher or teaching assistant. In fact, the least amount of input from the teacher the more accurate the results are likely to be. NB: We tend to find that children playing the games in the Autum Term will probably require a small amount of hand-holding, but by the time the games are re-run in the Spring, teachers find that very little is required of them.

Online - technically and practically

Why is it online?

The database is growing continuously and we are expanding the resource in several directions. This takes advantage of further developments and gives complete flexibility as to where the games are played and from where you as the teacher can access the results (for example, you could look at your class's results from the comfort of your own home in the evening). There is no software to install or any restrictions on which PC has to be used.

How often is the resource updated or improved?

That's the beauty of having the resource in an online format: our technical team is working on new developments, tweaks and improvements on a continuous basis. You don't have to wait for us to send you out a new CD of the latest edition - it is all there for you, having been probably updated the night before.

I don't like the subscription model. Is this the only option available to me?

Because the resource is online it is the only truly viable model. It can also be fully accessed and evaluated before purchasing.

Do we as a school need to install any special software to run Smart Cat Profiling?

Absolutely not. Smart Cat Profiling can be run on standard classroom computers providing they have broadband connection.

Practical questions

Is it recommended that the games are run in the classroom, with one child playing the games at any one time, or is an ICT suite the better option?

It is entirely up to you. Some schools happily use it in the classroom and find it suits them. However, other schools book sessions in the ICT suite and find that works best for them also. Why not try both options if you have that facility and see what you think?

Should the children wear headphones?

We provide each school with one set of headphones - we recommend that if the games are being run in the classroom the same set of headphones is used each time. Of course there are some children, for whatever reason, who will not want to / cannot wear headphones, in which case it can be done without.

How do you suggest I introduce the games to the children?

It seems that teachers have very different ways in presenting the games to the class. This is one example given to us by a teacher: "We played a game to help them remember where their name was and what their shape was - stand up if you have a blue shape, swap places if your shape is a square, stand up and turn round if your name is on the middle row, etc. After this I demonstrated a couple of games using the 'play demos' option before setting them off on the class desktop machines."

What happens if a child doesn't understand the question that is being asked of them the first time?

A repeat instructions facility is in place, so that if a child doesn't do anything for 6 seconds, the instructions will be repeated to him/her. There is no need for them to press anything for this to happen.

How long does a 'trial' last for?

If you signed up to a free trial this would last up to five days, and you can register up to three children. There is the option of extending your trial time period and this can be done on the site. Please contact one of our team to discuss further.

How many languages has Smart Cat Profiling been translated into thus far, and what are they?

It is currently available in Turkish, Polish, Somali and Urdu. If you think that another language would be particularly useful do let us know.

The results

How do I know that the results are secure?

All information provided to us is stored on Screen Learning's secure servers. Where we have given - or where the customer has chosen - a password which enables them to access certain parts of the site, they are responsible for keeping this password confidential. NB: Please refer any queries to Screen Learning's Privacy Policy sited at the bottom of the website

How valid are the results?

The results are to be used to support teacher observations. Smart Cat Profiling is another strategy which helps you to profile your children. It is based on a ranking system against a national average which is growing all the time. At present there are more than 1,000 children's profiles in the database and this is statistically sufficient to base the results on. If at any time the results are not in keeping with a teacher's judgement further investigation may be required.

Does a child need to complete all thirteen games before I'm able to look at any results?

No, after a child has completed just one game the results can be viewed and compared with the national average, as well as their classmates who have already completed the same game.

How are the results presented?

The profile provides a visual overview, as well as a detailed statement of each individual child's abilities measured against the national average. As well as providing information for the teacher's own use, there are reports with details suitable for passing on to parents.