Creating Culture in Schools with Data Analytics

Author – Robbie Janelle

When COVID-19 engulfed the globe in 2020, schools around the world were forced to close their doors. By implementing distance-learning techniques, educators were able to protect students while helping them to keep learning amid the pandemic. However, such a compromise was not without its own costs.

Researchers from Ball State University were among the first to shine light on the effects of learning loss caused by COVID-19. In this regard, they compared Indiana Learning Assessment Readiness Network (or “ILEARN”) scores from the years 2019 to 2021 and found significant dips in proficiency in subjects like mathematics, English, and other language arts.

Consequently, it’s clear that school culture needs to change even as COVID wanes. And one tool that can both aid in and quantify the success of changes is data analytics. By assisting with the creation of various subcultures conducive to learning, in fact, data analytics can improve educational outcomes as a whole. We discuss a few of these subcultures below.

A data-driven culture

Data analytics is widely used in spheres like business, healthcare, and government, due to its capacity to process and generate insights from large amounts of raw information. These same benefits can be brought to education when we use student data to determine how best to allocate resources to play to those students’ strengths, as well as to generate actionable points of improvement where students are lacking.

The world’s educational technology (or edtech) influencers are leading the way in implementing data analytics for these purposes. Working with visionary governments in Africa, NewGlobe has made particularly noteworthy progress in the space by way of its digital learning platform. By processing more than a billion data points each year, the program establishes a digital feedback loop that serves to continuously improve learning outcomes in related school systems. In other words, information about performance, outcomes, and tendencies in schools is compiled in such a way as to feed actionable changes that improve all of the above. Ultimately, this speaks to the power of data analytics and a data-driven culture in more effectively measuring a school’s progress and helping a school reach its ideal vision for education.

A career-focused culture

Student advising is instrumental in helping students discover which fields they will continue to engage with in the years to come. For schools though, this process requires a deep understanding of each student –– which is why UK-based advisory network Deloitte recommended in its 2021 piece “Five Strategies for Student Success” that data analytics be used by advisors. This can be done in a number of ways.

To give one example, a study published in the Journal of College Student Retention found that insights on a student’s past performance can help advisors direct them toward the most appropriate degree programs. At the same time, data analytics platforms’ ability to integrate information in real time can also keep advisors updated on the progress of each student they handle –– enabling them to devote attention to the students who need it most. All of this helps advisors to provide comprehensive and tailored assistance that can help students choose the right paths and start their higher degree programs and ultimately their careers on the right foot.

An enhanced culture of learning

Above all, data analytics can help foster a love of learning in students. Specifically, by using it to discover students’ strengths and weaknesses, educators can adjust their teaching methods as needed. For example, history teachers may find that gamified lessons better pique student interest; English teachers might discover that using audiobooks makes students more committed to completing reading assignments. Findings like these are easy enough to guess at, but data, over time, will actually prove which methods are most engaging.

These benefits can also extend to other methods used to boost student engagement. Our program for instance lists multiple ways to show students the rewards that hard work can bring, ranging from Christmas parties to field trips. With data analytics, you can measure the success of each initiative to learn which one works best for your students. In this way, by helping you adjust to student preferences and tendencies instead of imposing inflexible lesson plans, data analytics helps further instill a love of learning that students can carry into adulthood.

Though it’s clear that data analytics can build a thriving school culture in a number of ways, it’s also important to remember that technology will not be the driver behind such a change. Instead, it will be the people –– the district leaders, school administrators, and educators themselves –– who’ll be using data analytics to make a more lasting impact on students’ lives.

We hope this helped you to better understand the role data analytics can play in schools moving forward, and we encourage you to visit the Fight For Life Foundation again soon for more updates on education trends and improvement!

Article written for the exclusive use of
Authored by Robbie Janelle

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