Why Data Analytics Matter for K-12

There is a lot that goes on in K-12. Between all the classes, the scheduling, the teaching, the learning, the administrative operations, and even the transportation and building maintenance, there are a lot of ways data could help inform how a K-12 school district’s operations could be optimized. If done right, this can lead to significantly lower costs and a higher level of achievement for both the students and the school.

Here are just a few ways data, used the right way, can help.

More time to help students

Teachers have to do a million things every day. They have to worry about the material they are teaching from, what to go over each day in class, how each student is absorbing the information and how they are feeling, how to manage grading and re-grading, how to handle attendance, and now how to deal with blended learning models and virtual learning.

Oftentimes their day gets bogged down in mundane tasks like manually inputting grades, data, and attendance (sometimes in multiple systems), and just trying to manage everything coming their way.

Data analytics can free up their time. It can take much of the busy work off their plate, and even help direct them to the most optimal things to teach and student interventions to apply.

The result is happier teachers and better student outcomes.

Better strategic decisions

Schools, districts, and administrators need to make hard strategic decisions. They need to plan for the future, make sure they are within budget, make curriculum choices, hiring decisions, and more. They are responsible for ensuring high student achievement, safety, and sustainability.

Analytics can help.

When you can see at a granular and big picture level what is working and what isn’t, and what the trends are, all of the sudden it becomes clear what decisions need to be made, and the optimal way to make those decisions. K-12 analytics, predictive models, and dashboards provide the clarity you need to make good decisions.

Less frustration and burnout

One of the largest issues in education is the enormous amount of work that is required of teachers and administrators, often for little pay or recognition. People go into education because they love it, but that doesn’t mean that people won’t burn out if they are continuously overworked. Turnover in education is a problem for the teachers, students, and administrators.

Analytics can alleviate this. When good data and analysis are employed, everything runs smoother. The school and district are better run and managed, the teachers have less busy work, and the students get more targeted attention and learning.

It’s clear that data and analytics can play a critical role in improving our schools.

So, what exactly can data analysis and predictive models tell you?

What Data Analytics Reveal About Your School

1. Individual student risk and early warning

Students’ risks aren’t always clear. What’s more, there are many factors that go into whether a student might need additional interventions, but not all of them can be easily measured or seen right away. This is where data analysis becomes eye-opening. Data analytics can be used to identify individual student risks for specific academic, social, emotional, and behavioral concerns. This means that schools are able to intervene with the students who need it the most, which improves their outcomes over time.

When you can granularly see which students need help and can catch the needs early on before it’s too late, you can change the lives of more students.

Teach Beacon has several algorithms that run in the background and help identify these students for you, automatically.

2. Individual teacher performance

Individual teacher performance is one of the most difficult things for schools to measure. There are so many factors that can affect a teacher’s success in the classroom that it’s impossible to know exactly how every student will learn. This makes it very difficult to make decisions related to hiring, dismissal, and advancement of teachers.

Data analytics make this possible. Data analytics can be used to analyze teaching practices, assess student outcomes, and identify areas where tools may be needed or where interventions should be applied. It provides districts with a clearer picture of what’s working and what isn’t, so you can ensure the teachers on your staff are doing the best they can for students, or if not, offer targeted training to help.

3. Class Material Performance

Data analytics can also help educators and administrators understand the success and efficacy of various kinds of content and curriculum. This can be very helpful when districts are developing new course offerings, assessing what’s more/less successful, and understanding how different interventions might serve their students. For example, data analytics provide educators with a more complete understanding of the impact on student outcomes when vocabulary is built through context or explicit instruction.

As seen below, Teach Beacon offers robust analytics and dashboards to help see teacher, material, and course performance.

4. School district performance

Data analytics is important for understanding the performance of your school district. It can tell you all about your class material performance, the performance of individual teachers, school district performance, and it provides districts with a clearer picture of what’s working and what isn’t.

You can see the metrics that you need to hit for funding, and to meet the requirements of your state. Having all of this data together also allows you to report on these metrics effortlessly, saving an immense amount of time and effort bringing everything together.

Automatic reporting is offered in the Teach Beacon analytics engine.

5. Predicted trends for important metrics

It’s not always easy to know what the important metrics for your school are going to be. You can find out a lot of that information through predictive analysis and machine learning. Data analytics will tell you what trends your metrics have been following and how they’re likely to change in the coming years. It will also help you understand how different things might affect the outcomes of those metrics. This can be helpful if you need to make decisions about hiring teachers or developing new programming – it lets you have a clearer picture of what’s going on and what might work best.

Again, Teach Beacon runs all of these models for you and helps you see the future so you can take action.

6. Recommended student interventions

Predictive analytics is the process of analyzing data to identify trends that can happen in the future. The smarter you are with predictive analytics, the more accurately you can predict what is likely to happen.

K-12 schools can use predictive analytics to see which interventions they should recommend to students, based on their individual needs and performance over time.

Examples of potential interventions: Educational games, vocabulary lessons, extracurricular activities, and more.

Interventions for groups of students and for individual students are both helpful and can be recommended with the Teach Beacon system. That way you can spend one on one time with the students who need it most, but still reach others who need some assistance with less intensive interventions.

The Bottom Line for K-12 Education

The Bottom Line for K-12 Education: Data analytics can provide many benefits to schools and students alike. For example, data analytics provides insight into the performance of individual teachers or school districts while also providing recommendations on how best to intervene with struggling students. If you’re considering using a service like this in your own district, make sure that it’s from a company that specializes in data information and analysis for education. There are some pitfalls when dealing with other types of services which may not have the same level of expertise as someone who is dedicated to understanding educational institutions and their needs.

Get in touch with our educational data consultants to get your questions answered and see how you can optimize your school.