Data was supposed to revolutionize education.
With multiple data points on every student, we are supposed to be able to personalize learning for every student.
Unfortunately, we have been inundated by data. Data is gathered and stored, and difficult to interpret, and it doesn’t often lead to meaningful changes in instruction in order to improve learning.
One of the biggest issues is that it’s so difficult to set up an effective data pipeline with so much data coming in. If you’re asking yourself “what is a data pipeline?” then follow that link to find out more. If no one knows how to share or interact with data then it’s pointless collecting it in the first place.
I used to work with a colleague who hand sorted data in a spreadsheet, and created beautiful colored charts that broke down student performance. When I asked her how she shared the spreadsheets with teachers, she was aghast. She said that she didn’t actually share the data with teachers because they couldn’t understand it.
And this is exactly the problem. When data is so complicated and overwhelming that we can’t use it to improve instruction and learning, it ceases being useful.
Make it simple. Analyze a single piece of data on each student. After careful analysis, make concrete plans to help students based on what you see. Data does not need to be overwhelming, and if we simplify its collection and usage, we can help educators everywhere better meet student needs.