LAC Case Study: International School of Phnom Penh
(This post is by Jonathan Smedes, Director of Learning, Teaching, Innovation and Impact at ISPP)
In the Secondary School (Grades 6 to 12), the Support Services Team (SST) meets regularly to make decisions about the services provided to individual students based on their unique needs. These needs could be related to English language placement, a learning support need, or even a counselling or health related response. As every student’s context and needs are different, the team relies heavily on qualitative (teacher feedback, observations, referrals, etc.) and quantitative (assessment achievement, standardized tests, etc.) data to make appropriate decisions about differing levels of support that can be provided to each student.
Over the years, the team has struggled to compile and synthesize all of the data needed which will be used to inform their decision making. The sheer amount of data and the non-uniform way in which the data was housed meant that this task was time-consuming and caused a delay in decision making. It meant that students were not receiving appropriate responses or interventions to their needs in a timely manner and teachers became frustrated at a perceived lack of inaction. Furthermore, because the data was housed in a variety of different forms and locations, key pieces of information were sometimes missed, causing potential inappropriate responses to the original concern.
ISPP became interested in Learning Analytics Collaborative at an early stage, primarily as a way to house important school-wide assessment data. It was originally felt that the benefit of the LAC would be to provide bigger picture information about school-wide achievement both over the course of a semester or year, and longitudinally. As years of data became available in this one-stop-shop approach, it quickly became clear that in the Secondary School, the greatest use for teachers was being able to drill down and receive information about individual student achievement.
The SST was also naturally drawn to the individual student data dashboards as a way to create a quick snapshot of student performance over time in order to help inform individualized responses to student concerns. Where once, the team may have leapt to a conclusion about a particular student based on current teacher feedback, they were now able to provide much more context with more specific sets of longitudinal data that inform more appropriate responses and interventions.
Nowadays, when discussing student concerns or achievement, the LAC is our first port of call. We have been able to work with the team at the LAC to make the data work for our context. We have developed whole school protocols for how teachers look at and make information decisions and there is now a culture that data can be used as a powerful tool to inform our practices and responses.