In Physical education, like any other subject we are constantly collecting data on all students - our data then has to get crunched to go into our Kamar reporting system. A few years ago things were getting a bit messy and data was going missing on old bits of paper and numbers were getting plucked out of the air more often than rugby balls were going missing from our store cupboard!
Google spreadsheets seemed the obvious choice as some of the department were already half using excel to collate data. I created a shared document (see here for a guide) and headed the table columns for each term/credit period. Our reporting system required a 1-9 scale for each skill assessed so a formular was applied to turn a beep test score into a numerical value, or a sprint time into a value between 1-9. This could then be applied to all students for all teachers in the year group. We could also create totals and averages for each class, teacher and year group. At the end of each term the list was printed out and pinned up in the gym for the students to admire their efforts!
So how was this different from using an excel document on a shared school network drive? The main advantages were that the whole department could all edit at the same time - on a shared drive only one copy of a MS office document can be open at once. Often the data entry was done immediately after school or during breaks, and it was important that we could all be on at the same time. The ability to chat or comment online was also good for staff and as a HOD - I could quickly scan and comment on any data that looked a bit inaccurate, and leave a comment or mention it to a staff member so they could amend it. Some classes and students were also invited to 'view' the document - the really keen boys liked seeing the scores updated and there was a great sense of competition and it definitely increased motivation for the students.
2012 Update - We have been using the system now for 2 years and is working well, students and staff are familiar with the system - it is also good to be able to go back in the records and see how a student performed in previous years.