This is going to be a big deal… We are at the start of a more data-driven approach to education.
The TEC are several years down this track with their Literacy and Numeracy for Adults Assessment Tool. The tool generates massive amounts of data about learners’ literacy and numeracy achievement levels. The TEC already uses this data to make decisions about funding organisations.
The original intent of the tool, however, what that it was to help educators make decisions about how to teach their learners. This is data driven decision making in education which I wrote about here. This is part of a global trend towards data driven decision making in many aspects of business and life.
As computers become more embedded and probably invisible they will count and aggregate more and more different kinds of data. And we’ll have access to some of this in different contexts in our own lives.
So, we shouldn’t be surprised, regardless of whether you think this is for better or worse, to see this happening in education.
So the question is:
How do you really start using data from the TEC assessment tool to inform your teaching?
And here’s how I would do it:
- Print out an appropriate Learner Assessment Report. I’m working with a Reading report in my examples below.
- Colour code the progressions on the learner report scatter graph.
- Use the same colours to code the learners incorrect answers in the list of Assessment Questions below the graph.
- Tick any highlighted items that you think contain similar skills required by your learners or that relate to what you know about the demands of your training or work. Look at the question intent and look for patterns. Don’t be distracted by the text the TEC used. You can expand this coding system to include a question mark (?) or cross (x) if you want.
- Rank the top three items from 1 – 3. Where you see common patterns running through several items, then rank them with the same number. I think you can be a bit liberal here when it comes to grouping things together and I’ve expanded my screenshot below to show both pages that I marked up.
- Summarise the information in a useful format. Put it in your own words for example. Here’s my summary of my top three priorities above. My learner needs to learn how to:
- Priority 1: Find similar sounding information in a paragraph, set of short descriptions, or larger text.
- Priority 2: Say which of several situations or scenarios are supported by a text.
- Priority 3: Identify the kind of information provided in a text.
- Now you can do something with this information.
- You can use this information to inform the development of individual or group learning plans; and/or
- You can use this information to develop embedded LN learning outcomes that you contextualise for your own content area, e.g. trades or vocational training.
- However you use the data, you should have something specific and useful to help you design some focused teaching and learning activities that you can then go and deliver.