It never ceases to amaze me how and where Business Analytics can add value. While researching for this week’s post, I came across a story that used the title of this post as a sub heading (OMG, I LUV SCHL!).
According to Timothy Darley, Superintendent Granville Country Schools “Our graduation rate was only 58 percent” … but after combining Business Analytics with new ways to teach … “We've already seen a 20.3 percent jump in the graduation rate at South Granville, and I've seen an increase in attendance and a decrease in disciplinary action.”
So what did they do?
There are 2 elements to this story.
The first begins by questioning how subjects are taught. By using technology kids of today are familiar with, they become more engaged. That may mean using software that allows each child to learn at their own pace/ skill level; or infusing technology creatively …
"I've been to schools where they let kids use their texting abilities to answer questions," Farley recounts. "In Seattle, a teacher had students who were reading Romeo and Juliet consider what Romeo's text to Juliet might have been and vice versa. The use of technology just makes it more interesting for kids."
The second is far more strategic and where Business Analytics come in – assessing the influence of the district, schools and teachers on student progress rates and the enablement of personalized educational planning at the student level.
Before using this this technology Farley says “ … we blindly assigned students to course levels using end-of-course assessments. Now teachers have the ability to look at progress longitudinally and project the education paths students should take. Our tendency is to just look at students who are struggling, but a lot of times you'll see a reduction in the developmental scale scores of high achievers; you need to be able to ask why it is happening."
The approach enables a massive multivariate, longitudinal analysis using all achievement data for each student, even those with incomplete testing histories, to estimate the effects of teachers, schools and school systems. The software has allowed the inherent advantages of longitudinal analyses to be extended to a statewide application, previously unavailable.
For more on the application, read SAS® EVAAS® for K-12. And if you want to get into the stats, read:
An investigation of two nonparametric regression models for value-added assessment in education.