Using Data Analytics in Schools to Improve the Teaching-Learning Experience

Before the advent of digitalization in classrooms, educators used basic pen & paper techniques and relied on memory to compute and analyze the student’s individual performance and the collective progress of the class. This method lacked colorful pie-charts, excel sheets, and bar diagraphs, but nonetheless worked just fine.

In the recent era, Schools have started entrusting most tasks to technology and are readily adapting various (Enterprise Resource Planning) ERP systems. Markezy is an example of one such innovative digital platform that aims to enhance the education experience by integrating technology to student assessments and is pretty popular amongst schools in UAE.

Technology has made it relatively easy for teachers to access data at the click of a button. Educators can now extract collective & summative data of students, progress report cards, attendance statistics, and much more, thanks to the Smart School integration.

Many schools across the world and especially the Dubai in the Middle East are joining the bandwagon to catch-up with this EdTech trend and stay relevant, so that they do not lose their current spot on institutional ranking. The aim of this data driven approach is to make work effortless, but sometimes this process backfires. Wondering how digitalization is making things within the school more complex? Well, let us explain.

Classroom technology can sometimes overwhelm the teacher by providing excessive statistical information, which may not be required by them. Also feeding the data on the teacher’s portal is a cumbersome task and often may cause fatigue. The focus on teaching is diverted & the teacher ends-up spending more time on data entry, and less on planning lessons. But that is not what the school management signed-up for when EdTech brands painted a very rosy picture of them!

Well, we don’t mean to cause any confusion to you. After having read the above pros and cons, it’s now time to answer the burning question. How effective is data analytics for the education sector? Does it really enhance the teaching-learning experience?

Let us first understand the two types of data frequently utilized by schools and its scope:

  • Analytics on formative assessment are based on the marks earned by students during quizzes, internal tests, and project work. Digitalized software enables teachers to get a clear picture of the student’s grades by which the child’s level of understanding can be gauged. Formative assessments go a long way in helping the teacher plan the lessons, use the appropriate pace of teaching, and introduce variety to teaching methods based on solid data computed for each student.
  • Summative assessment scores are helpful for teachers to get a clear picture of the child’s achievements at the culmination of a quarter, or say mid-term, or even at the end of the academic year. The child’s ends of mid-term exam scores or cumulative project scores are taken into consideration. By adding a few filters and selecting the date-range, teachers get a detailed report of the child’s actual performance vs. the benchmark he was set to achieve. Summation helps in realizing whether the planned module has delivered the expected results or does the next teaching module need any amendments.

And this is just a drop in the ocean. There is so much more that the student’s assessment system can be made to do.

For example: the child’s complete academic history from the time he joined school can be extracted within minutes and mapped on a graph.

Also, out of numerous subjects in school the one that interests learners the most can be clearly identified. Based on this the teacher can decide if the student needs to be motivated to focus other subjects as well; or give him a push to delve deeper on the subject of interest so as to encourage him to pursue it at college level.

When used appropriately analytical data can be invaluable. Here’s how to use data to advantage students & the institution at large:

  • Data is helpful to caution learners whose assessment graph is moving downwards early on; before they struggle to make up for cut-off marks in order to be promoted to the higher grade. Schools in the GCC who use Markezy never worry about the authenticity of the assessments, as the software is capable of auto-computing the student’s score based on parameters set by the teacher.
  • Having a good source of data can determine whether the optional subject courses offered to students is a success or needs to be revisited ex: German Language Course. If students are not performing well in grasping German, maybe the school can investigate further and employ another German Teacher ask the current teacher to improve the teaching method.
  • When assigning project-work the subject teacher will be in a better position to form groups based on the skills of the students. Past data helps to know how resourceful the student is. The teacher might not want to club the class geniuses in one group, because it’s unfair to have them excel each time. To enhance learning, a mixed cluster having different levels of skill-set is picked for project work.

Now that you understand the authenticity of the data-drive approach and its benefits to the entire teaching-learning process, it is time to drive the data-driven culture within your institution. However, make sure everyone within the system is trained and aware about the performance goals & standards set by the school.

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