5 steps for making better class lists

Teacher standing in front of a whiteboard

Class lists are one of the most important (and time-consuming) tasks for any school.

At Pluto, we are in the business of making this complex process simple. We have compiled this list of five practical steps to improve the process of making class lists to take make this task easier and more likely to meet your desired outcomes.

Read on for helpful tips on getting your Class Placement list across the line with a hassle-free approach.

  1. Establishing your class placement criteria

    Each school board and the senior team must decide on a process for constructing class lists. This process will take into account the school ethos and should begin with a list that acknowledges each targeted criterion's priority.

    Your school may wish to emphasize cultural diversity and social relationships or utilize students' literacy levels as important factors in building a placement list. You could lean toward ensuring that family preferences are addressed, and you may tailor your placement formula according to teacher preferences.

    Whatever your set of criteria, identifying this criterion is the first step toward gaining clarity. This will help you to relay your decision-making process to the wider school community and easily field inquiries about your placement process. Pluto has compiled a Glossary of class placement terms to enable your school to begin to draw up the class placement criteria that will work best for your school. (You can get this free resource here)

  2. Gathering all of the information you need

    Once you have identified your criterion, gathering the information required to begin your class placement process starts by understanding each child's activities and achievements in the outgoing year.

    This will include sighting academic records and meeting with teachers - and potentially students - to pinpoint where their current placement worked for them and where a change may be beneficial. This can be time-consuming and may require after-hours support for teachers who are already preparing wrap-ups on projects and activities for the year and dealing with reports. digitizing this process can save time and reduce stress for your faculty.

    Pluto can make this process easier by creating a card for each student which is filled in by their teacher to document their strengths and weaknesses. You can also add in parent requests and conflicts with other students so that once the data is entered any conflicts will be easily flagged.

  3. Managing conflicts in class placement

    You may run into conflicts when you are considering class placements. A student may have strong feelings about a staff member, a parent may prefer their child be removed from a friend group during class hours, or there could be a situation of bullying, all of which must be accounted for in the coming placement. At this stage, you may also wish to allow requests to be included your weighting process.

    Relationships can be complicated, and balancing everyone’s needs can be next to impossible under a manual placement system. Having a third-party tool like Pluto that can take all the information you provide and construct a smart algorithm that creates a balanced class placement list ensures that fairness will prevail.

  4. Deciding when to make an exception

    Your school must put people first. Each school is a community with diverse needs, and no system is perfect. It’s essential to take an organized, analytical approach to your Classroom Placement process at the outset. This way, you will more clearly recognise where it is appropriate to make exceptions to the rules you have created for your school.

    You can use a Pluto Class Placement List as an organised and efficient jumping-off point, where small tweaks can be factored into your process once the software has actioned all the complex collation tasks.

  5. Communicating what the process and rules are to parents

    Each student is part of a wider community of people; some families like to be closely involved in the Class Placement process, and others are happy to go with the flow. You may have parents who want their child to move through their school years with a particular friend, or they may have some ideas about teacher preference.

    By using the Pluto Class Placement Glossary, and our Parent Communication Template (available here) you can clearly communicate with parents and caregivers about the proposed criteria, where exceptions may be possible, and what values you are factoring in when you work on your placement lists for the coming year. Using the glossary helps explain the protocol and rationale you have used so that all interested parties can better understand how your choices match your school's ethos.

    Clearly communicating with parents and caregivers about your proposed criteria, where exceptions may be possible, and what values you are factoring in when you work on your placement lists for the coming year helps all interested parties better understand how your choices match your school's ethos.

Pluto can take the stress out of Class Placement lists for your school. Our system is easy to use, and many schools around the world have already found it to be an invaluable tool.
Get in touch today to move this complex process into a smart, future-proofed space.