11 Replies Latest reply on Sep 12, 2012 11:13 AM by GuyStevens

    school database



      school database


      I am a secondary school teacer. I would like to set up a database for use for myself to track students' attendance, homework, contact details, exam results. I plan on using a plug-in to send webtexts to parents when I enter class test results. I would also like this database to provide me with graphs and charts to clearly show to parents how their children are progressing. 

      I would like my database to work as a pilot for a year. So I would like it structured so that other teachers will be able to use it to monitor their own students' progress. I plan on hosting it using filemaker server 11.

      Any ideas how to structure this with regard to tables and relationships?

      I would also like to set it up so that when I call the roll I can use radio buttons to mark a student absent, present, late, and that the time I enter the data will be recorded as the time the student arrived in class. I suppoe a time stamp would do. It would be ideal if today's date was the default list of radio buttons presented when entering data.

      I would also like to be able to check radio buttons for student behaviour, homework done/not done.

      I've read "FileMaker Pro 11 The Mising Manual" and I would see myself as an intermediate level developer if such a thing exists.

      Any ideas?


        • 1. Re: school database

          Student tracking is a very common use for Filemaker, and questions about it feature regularly on the forum.  If you search for key words such as 'student', 'exam', 'enrollment', 'classes', 'attendance' you'll get lots of hits covering all aspects of the design.

          • 2. Re: school database

            I plan on using a plug-in to send webtexts to parents when I enter class test results.

            How about creating a report and sending it to the parents via email as an attached pdf?

            You can also send text messages by using an API gateway. It's really simple, you just set up a calculation field that creates a URL that you can then open in a browser that contains:
            - the sender's number
            - The recievers number
            - The message

            A pretty easy way to send texts trough filemaker.

            For your structure: Do you have one group of students for the entire year? Or do you have multiple groups of students?

            (I'm not from america, so I don't know how secondary school works there)  :)

            • 3. Re: school database

              A school database would ideally start with a database for each student - allowing them to track all their data.

              Optionally a database for parents to track their children's progress and status.

              The nest step would be a teacher's database to track their students and send relevant data to their students.

              The near final step would be a database for administrators to track their teacher's data, student data and parent data.

              It always surprises me that searching for school filemaker templates and info is so frustrating.

              The 2007 runtime released by Filemaker for students was a good step but was abandoned. (Campus Productivity Kit)

              • 4. Re: school database

                Student tracking is a very common use for Filemaker, and questions about it feature regularly on the forum.

                I was actually interested in this and did a search both on google and on this forum but was disappointed that there doesn't seem to be a lot to find on attendance tracking. Therefore I started a little demo myself.

                It's still extremely basic, but I'm planning to expand on it a little more:


                • 5. Re: school database

                  There should be several threads on attendance tracking but this forum isn't the easiest to search.

                  Attendance is pretty straight forward if you have just one class all day like a typical elementary age teacher, but more complex if you teach multiple classes each day such as a Highschool or College instructor.

                  • 6. Re: school database


                    Are you getting that red "comment can not be posted" message when you post?

                    usually, you can just post again to get it to work, but having to re-enter the text gets quite annoying. THis is an issue with the Forum Software that I've reported to the forum moderator at FileMaker Inc. a few days ago...

                    • 7. Re: school database
                       Your API gateway idea sounds great and easy to set up. I'd be interested in exploring that a bit more with you Da Sant. I'm a secondary teacher in Dublin, Ireland. Email is a much easier thing to set up. But text messages have two advantages for me: I can be sure that the many parents who don't read emails too often find out the results. Students also react really well to the text message carrot and stick approach. They want to be rewarded for a positive text message and want to avoid bad news being sent home. I have multiple groups of students for five different subjects. I liked your demo DaSant. It is along the lines of what I want. I want to use time stamped radio buttons which would highlight patterns of poor punctuality and would also record the time an incident of indiscipline occurred. I didn't get the red comment: "cannot be posted". I was using the iPad and it would nit allow me to type.
                      • 8. Re: school database

                        I have multiple groups of students for five different subjects.

                        So I assume we could add a "Subject" field to the students table so you can select for each student which subject the are following.

                        Can a student follow multiple subjects?

                        I want to use time stamped radio buttons

                        What do you mean exactly? I now store the timestamp in a field the moment a button is clicked. The field is just not being shown on any of the layouts.

                        I was thinking of maybe making some sort of calender type week view where you could see a list of students with the attendances 5 weekdays next to each other

                        Maybe the timestamp could be added in that view.

                        and would also record the time an incident of indiscipline occurred.

                        Would you do that in the same layout? Or would you create a seperate layout for incidents?
                        Would you need an additional field to explain exactly what the incident was?

                        Your API gateway idea sounds great and easy to set up.

                        Yeah, you just need to find a company that provides this functionality.And don't forget, you need to pay for sms credits. Every text costs money.

                        Me, I use a company that's based in Belgium. But their website is in Dutch.

                        Just google "SMS API" and you'll find some companies.

                        Most companis offer a few free trial credits. So you can try out their service.

                        Just go and look at their help fiels to see the format of the URL and the things to look out for. Like URL encoding.

                        • 9. Re: school database

                          Here is a slightly different way of doing this.

                          You don't start of with a list of students, but you do add the ones that are present.

                          If you have multuple classes you might first select a class, and then your dropdown will show only kids from that class.

                          Kids that have already been selected do not appear in the dropdown anymore.

                          Then in your Attendance table you could add fields for "Type" where you can then set "Present" as a standard value but that can be changed to "Late" "sick" etc.



                          • 10. Re: school database

                                 I am working on a similar database for tracking Boy Scout information.  I have a list of people (scouts and adults), a list of events (troop meetings and campouts), and a multi-multi join table that has which people attended which events.  My database is currently in Access, but I am converting to Filemaker Pro with a new MacBook.  So, I appologize if I do not know the proper names for items in FMP yet.  I just downloaded the demo today.

                                 What I think would be ideal would be to create a new event that would be added to the Events table.  Then for that event, a list of the "Active" scouts and adults from the People table would be displayed with a checkbox (or something) next to each name.  You would then check off who attended that event, run a script and it would add that combination of selected people:selected event to the events:people join table.

                                 Hopefully this makes sense.  I think it woudl work well for any type of atendance tracker where you have a set of people that you want to record that they attended an event and you are constantly adding events (like dialy or weekly attendance).  I am pretty sure this would have to be done through a script, but am still learning.  Hopefully after tonight I will have my database recreated in File Maker Pro 12.  I actually have a whole bunch of additional information and tables, but the attendance piece is the most challenging to make simple.

                                 Any thoughts?

                            • 11. Re: school database

                                   Hey Bryce,

                                   For a beginner tutorial / screencast on Filemaker, to be able to find your way around, you could look here:


                                   And I'm also starting to help someone now on an attendance tracking solution. You might want to follow that here:

                              Help on taking attendance using FM Pro