5 Ways to Amplify Learning Successes with Data-Driven Tools

Teachers have a keen ability to detect when a student is off. They may be some of the first people to notice subtle behavior or academic shifts. The problem is with increasing classroom sizes and longer work hours, their attention is understandably divided.

Many modern instructors increasingly rely on data analytics tools to help them more quickly identify potential problems and opportunities for curriculum improvement or more personalized learning. It is this informed decision making that drives higher educational outcomes.

Data-driven Instruction Defined

Put simply, “Analytics is the process of collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data in order to gain insights and make more informed decisions. In the education industry, analytics can be used to identify areas of improvement and implement strategies to drive student success,” explains Software Advice.

What does this mean practically? With the right data tools, an instructor might:

Create customized lessons tailored for a student’s individual learning style
See which parts of a curriculum are or aren’t resonating with learners
Pinpoint which students are at risk of not advancing and course correct
Track student progress and reinforce what’s working

Types of Effective Educational Data Tools

One can generalize academic data analytics tools into two categories: those that use formative assessments and those that rely on demographic data analysis.

Learning data from the former provides opportunities for continuous, ongoing improvement. These formative assessments are almost exclusively used to guide instructional decisions like curriculum updates. “Format assessment is purposeful and directly tied to the intended learning outcomes and standards,” shares Education Advanced. “ If the teacher planned the activity to learn how students are progressing and guide future teaching decisions, it is a formative assessment”.

The other type of data schools look at closely are the demographics of their learners. To support and contextualize student achievement, educators may look for patterns correlated with negative learning outcomes so they can better address possible inequities among groups that vary by:

Race and ethnicity
Socioeconomic status
Attendance rates
Health or disability status

Five Steps to a Successful Data Analytics Practice

Curriculum improvements, better teacher efficacy, and elevated learning outcomes have all been attributed to data-driven instruction.

But simply implementing these tools isn’t enough to maximize their full potential – muchless that of your learners.

To really support student achievement, educational leaders must:

Advocate for a team approach. Data analysis isn’t for the solo practitioner. By creating a space to ask questions, share best practices, and pursue professional development opportunities, educators can foster a more effective learning community.
Identify your top learning targets. You need a singular point from which to evaluate your focus area. Whether you choose an educational standard set at the district level or simply concentrate on improving past performance in a particular subject, be specific about what you aim to address.
Define your success metrics. Your particular academic goals can help you work backwards to identify which markers of success will be most telling.
Know how you’ll assess progress. Make sure you map out how often you’ll measure for growth and what tools you’ll use to do so. Create a baseline before you implement any data analytics tools or strategies to more accurately track student growth.
Adjust along the way. By using the tools listed above, you can gain a more comprehensive view of what’s working and what may need refining. Be on the lookout for inequities that could be impacting learning outcomes so you can address them in real time.

Ensuring Alignment

There is no shortage of data and analytics tools designed for education. Selecting the option that’s right for your institution will come down to the technical capabilities of your staff, the needs of your students, and the goals of your school.

Done thoughtfully, leaders can ensure educators have what they need to create an attuned, equitable learning environment for everyone.