Searching for Students and Working with Groups

The PowerSchool interface is set up with the idea that we search for one or more kids and then we eyeball their screens or do something with the data like print reports or export. Searches are pretty much the most important aspect of using PowerSchool so learning ways to get the right groups of kids selected will make your tasks easier.

All searching activities begin on the Start Page. In the text field to the left of the Find button (the ps_magnifyingglass.png), you may use one or more fields in the Student 'table' to locate records. To see the list of all those fields, you can click the blue 'View Field List' link. Note that you can make the resulting window larger by clicking and dragging the lower right corner. Clicking on any field in the window will automatically plop it in the search field.

Hint: while you have that Field List open, you can select the text and paste the list into a Word document and then edit out the fields that you are unlikely to use.

Single Search Terms 

Every search command line is broken into three parts: a field name (such as first_name or grade_level or DOB); a comparator (such as =); and the search argument itself (in the example, jenny is the search argument).

The general format is:   [field name] [comparator] [search argument]

On the PowerSchool start page, select the View Field List link below the Search Students box to view a list of available field names.

The following table lists the comparators you can use:

Comparator Meaning
= equals
< is less than
> is greater than
<= is less than or equal to
>= is greater than or equal to
# does not equal
in is [field] present in the search argument?
contains is the search argument contained in the [field]?
!contain is the search argument not contained in the [field]?
@ wildcard

 Multiple Field Searches

What if you wanted to find all the students in grade whose first name is John. You are asking for PowerSchool to consider grade AND first name. You can combine these seaches by placing a semi-colon between the terms you enter in the search box:

grade_level=2;first_name=John

Search Prefixes

There are three search prefixes you may wish to use. A search prefix adjusts how the search is carried out. Note that you will always follow the prefix by a search term; a prefix is never valid all by itself on the search line.

Prefix Effect on Search Line
/ Include non-active students. Normal searches are restricted to the actively enrolled student body of the school. However, especially when transferring students in from another school, you may sometimes wish to locate students who are no longer or not yet active. Use this prefix to search across ALL students (ie, active and inactive). Note that this may be placed AFTER (not before) a "+" or "&" prefix.
& Search within results. For example, to find all students transferred in after 4/10/2006, search first for "transferred-in", then search for "&/ExitDate>4/10/2006". Note that the "&" must come BEFORE any "/" prefix.
+ Add results of new search. For example, to find all tenth graders and all ninth graders with the field "InstrLevel" set to "Advanced" you might search for "Grade_Level=9" and then "&InstrLevel=Advanced", and finally for "+Grade_Level=10". Note that the "+" must come BEFORE any "/" prefix.

Data Access Tags (DATs)

Sometimes, the thing you are searching for is not in the student fields. For example, what if you want to find a student who was enrolled in your building last year or who is taking a particular class? For this, we have to rely on the poorly documented but insanely useful Data Access Tags built into PowerSchool. These are special search functions that will pull data from other tables for use in searches, exports or reports. Here are some that ITD has turned up and found useful.

 

DAT What it does Search example Report/Export Example
*as_of=MM/DD/YYYY Locates all students enrolled as of a certain date in your building, including dates in the previous year *as_of=6/1/2009 n/a
*period_info;EXP;teacher_i_last_name If you edit the expression to match one in your master schedule, the program will return the teacher the student has that hour for any course in the term selected at the top of the page *period_info;SKY(A);teacher_i_last_name ^(*period_info;AM(A);teacher_i_last_name)

*period_info;EXP;room

*period_info;EXP;course_name

*period_info;EXP;current_grade

Replace the expression and other info about the course. *period_info;3(A);room ^(*period_info;3(A);room)

*enrolled_in=######

*enrolled_in=######.##

Insert a course number (or course.section) and the program will return all students enrolled in that class during the term selected at the top of the page.

*enrolled_in=2461

*enrolled_in=301011.1

n/a
*not_enrolled_in=###### Insert course number and locate students missing a particular course in the term selected at the top of the page. *enrolled_in=2461;grade_level=6 n/a
*not_enrolled_in_period=1 Finds students with no first hour class n/a n/a

*number_of_classes<6

*number_of_classes>7

*number_of_classes#7

Finds under or over scheduled students n/a n/a

*has_completed_course=8771

*has_not_completed=8771

Looks in Historical Grades to see if the student has completed this course. NOTE! Because AAPS changed course numbers, you may not find all the students you need by this method until all the 08-09 6th graders become 8th graders.

Find 8th graders w/o Health credit:

grade_level=8;*has_not_completed=8771

Then narrow the list to kids not signed up:

&*not_enrolled_in=8771

n/a
 *special_program=@@@

Enter the code for the state/federal program:

  • 504
  • HDS
  • LEP
  • MSRP
  • SPE
  • TT1

 *special_program=SPE

NOTE!: Compare the results of this search with those of Alert_Program=SPE

The numbers should match. The special programs table is related to state and federal reporting while the Alert_program field is there to set the flag that teachers and staff can see when reviewing student records.

 n/a
*hours_requested<8 Use this to determine whether the student has enough requests to build a schedule. n/a n/a

*birthday=today

*birthday=MM/DD

*birthday>=MM/DD/YYYY; *birthday<=MM/DD/YYYY

Equal to searches need only month and day; date interval searches require full date.

Frosh with September birthdays:

grade_level=9; *birthday>=09/01/2009; *birthday<=09/30/2009

n/a

(*gpa method="weighted")

(*gpa method="weighted" term="S1")

Pulls the cumulative HS GPA unless qualified by term, year, grade level and/or credit type.

(*gpa method="weighted" grade="9")

(*gpa method="weighted" credittype="ALG1,ALG2,GEOM,MAT")

(*gpa method="weighted" term="T1" year="2008")

^(*gpa method="weighted")

(*gpa method="HSCumulativeCredits" format=###0.000) Pulls cumulative HS credits earned n/a ^(*gpa method= "HSCumulativeCredits" format=###0.000)