What does it mean to be a data-driven school?


What does it mean to be a data-driven school?A data-driven school is a school that employs practices such as data-driven instructions to improve school-wide student performance. In case you are wondering, data-driven instruction is a method of teaching that allows educators to improve teaching methods by looking at information available for each student.

Such data- driven schools will ease student assessment processes as well as teaching stress to an unbelievable extent. Striking factor about data -driven assessment is that it is not something which only focuses on academics. It also takes into consideration broader aspects such as student behavior and abilities.

Let’s learn more about data- driven schools.

The Data

Data in this context means collection of statistics for detailed and in depth analysis of each student. Two assessment techniques – formative and summative are used to create a benchmark so that the data collected can be compared with it. This method is used from the start to the end of school year.

Formative and summative assessment what are they?

Formative Assessment

This method is used to evaluate current study progress of a student. It helps teachers understand why certain students are struggling to understand certain subjects, learn which skills are difficult for them, and why they fail to reach certain benchmarks.
Salient features of formative assessment are:

•  It helps students as well as teacher to get an idea about what is going wrong with the learning or even teaching.
•  Teachers can map out the understanding of students about certain concept and can bring adequate changes to it.
•  Peer assessment that can be availed through the data allows students to help each other
•  Helps encourage healthy relationship between students as well as teachers. And the most significant trait that will be acquired after this assessment is that both teacher as well as the student will be able to analyze themselves in terms of educational progress as well as behaviour.

Summative Assessment

Method used to evaluate skills development as well as possession, learning, achievements etc during the tenure of a course. Tests, projects and assignments are used to attain an idea about how well a student has grasped the lessons. Summative assessments are mostly recorded as grades and can become a student’s report card for a year.

Salient features of Summative assessment are:

•  Can be used as an authentic record for school as well as college admissions.

•  Can be used as a concise data of previous year of a student so that it can be analyzed in the forthcoming year.

•  This concise assessment will be significant if a student moves from one school to another so that the teacher in the new school can get an idea about the positives as well as negatives of a student.

How does Data driven assessment work in a class room?

1. Interim assessment – Teachers have to create assessment questions by their own. Teaching techniques will not be same for all teachers. However, the assessment questions will be the same, for instance there are different sections for a same grade class. They all have to write the same questions probably at the same time. The key factor about this assessment is that lot of time can be saved and the questions formulated will be of impeccable standards due to discussions and trial and error method between the teachers while making the questions. After the assessment the result will be uploaded to data warehouse via a computer.

2. Analyze the data – Teachers can have a detailed analysis of why and where did the student go wrong and can help the student accordingly.

3. Cross Reference – Teachers can use this data pool to cross refer with other successful schools and can develop a strategy about what went wrong

4. Encourage – Those students who are a bit sluggish should be encouraged and motivated to perform well.

5. The assessment data of students can be plotted via graph through software and can be sent to parents so that they can have a better look at their child’s educational progress.

6. If nothing works the data collected can be brought to Professional learning community and can seek expert advice from them.

7. Data collected can be used to make students into group so that they can help each other.

8. If the assessment reveals that majority of students find it difficult to understand a particular subject, then teachers can repeat the same lessons by using other practical methods and techniques.

What are the benefits of a data-driven school?

•  Teachers have to tailor their own teaching techniques as well as lesson plans to meet the needs of  every student. A practice exists in schools is that all students are dealt with a common approach. But, in a data-driven school, there will be different teaching strategies for each student.

•  The pool of data that a school collects through assessment can be compared with any other school to develop a better strategy.

•  Administrators can allocate resources in such a way to make the operations of the school transparent and accountable by assessing the data collected.

• All the data that has been collected will be available to researchers, Parents, Tech developers, etc. for their use.

What are the basics that a school should go through before it becomes data-driven?

A data driven school relies on technology. The technology used can be divided into three parts.

1. Student Information Systems
2. Learning Management Systems
3. Data Warehouses.

Student Information Systems (SIS) – Designed to collect store as well as analyze data in a structural format. For instance, attendance, grades, remarks etc. They are often software which can register details such as grading, transcripts, assessment scores, tracking attendance, managing student data, etc.

Learning Management Systems (LMS) – They are digital tools used for tracking as well as documentation of delivery of educational content to a student. LMS often consists of educational software, online content, digital assessment etc.

Data Warehouses aka database

Data warehouse is the palace where all the data gets pooled and retrieved later for analysis. They are the most important and powerful tool in any data driven system.

So, what are your comments on data-driven schools? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section.

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