Elementary / Primary / Junior, High school / Secondary 2, Investors, Required, Technology - Written by on Sunday, September 18, 2011 9:14 - 0 Comments

Education Analytics Dashboards Want to Help Steer Learning

photo: flickr user Ben McLeod

by Elbert Chu

 

Nobody drives a car without a dashboard. So it’s about time that learning professionals upgrade from archaic backward-looking diagnostics to real-time analytics about how their students and schools are performing.

We’ve reported earlier that IBM is getting into the game with their acquisition of SIIS, and now two of ImagineK12′s 2011 hatchlings, Eduvant and Formative Learning, are getting involved in the space as well.

Jack West, a physics teacher of 14 years and has been recognized as teacher of the year in his Calif. county. West sums up some of the insight these dashboards could provide:

Education data dashboards are now hitting the market that will alert a principal when a subgroup of students shows absenteeism at a statistically significant rate, identify when a teacher improves student test scores on a standard metric from one year to the next, and draw attention to budgets that are being depleted at an unsustainable rate.

A public interface for a school’s dashboard could feed parents real-time information about the performance of their children. Transparency could facilitate better public understanding of the needs any given community might have.

But as always, data by itself is meaningless. The factor that will transform data to smart changes in learning will come from smart interpretation and wise implementation of policies and methods.

West dreams-up a perfectly nightmarish storm which illustrates the inherent dangers:

 Imagine an administrator that sees a strong quantitative correlation between an excessive number of snow days and student performance on math curriculum taught during winter quarter. Meanwhile, two stellar math teachers who had babies over Christmas break and went on maternity leave were replaced by poorly trained substitutes. The administrator would probably be better spending his or her time making sure that the two new mothers knew how sorely they were missed, rather than lobbying the county department of transportation for more snow plows.

Improved analytics and dashboards are all well and good. But the real question is who is in the driver’s seat? The answer to that question will make all the difference.

 

via Data Dashboards Crash into Education – Will It Matter? | jackcwest.

 



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