How to manage school data more efficiently
2 August 2023
When we talk about school data, there are two main elements we’re referring to: data management for improved classroom and learning outcomes, and data management for financial profitability and business growth. Each should have a clearly defined strategy and work in tandem to maintain school and student performance.
Now, you may or may not already have these strategies in place, but what about the process that underpins them? Whether you’re implementing a data management process from scratch or looking to improve the one you have, it’s important to pay close attention to the way you go about collecting, monitoring and examining school data so it can:
Help teachers provide a more tailored learning experience to students
Assist school leaders in making informed decisions to drive competitiveness and growth
Become more accessible, transparent and collaborative across teams and departments
Before we jump into how you can set up and manage your school data more efficiently, let’s look closely at what it means to make data driven decisions and the importance of data management in education.
What is data-based decision making in education?
Data-based decision making in education is when you use data such as student performance, enrolments, assessment data, operation performance and financial position, to make school improvements and drive strategic growth.
The effective use of data in schools not only benefits the school as a business, but it can help benefit student success and wellbeing, too. However, every school, childcare centre or education provider’s approach to data management may differ as the type of data and amount of data used in schools to drive decision making will depend on that entity’s goals and needs.
How data is stored and shared should also be considered and may depend on the type of data management system in place. For example, some schools may use older, more manual-based systems, which could make collaboration across teams slower and more time consuming, while others could be (and are) leading the charge on leveraging artificial intelligence to stay data informed, thus improving the school’s ability to respond to external and economic pressures in a more agile way.
Whether your data management process is manual or automated, it’s a good idea to understand what makes up an effective system for gathering and sharing school data.
The main cornerstones for the effective use of data in schools involve:
Data collection. The way you collect data plays a critical role in enabling school leaders to plan their school’s future. Spend some time looking at the weak points in your data collection process and taking steps to optimise it.
Data analysis. From analysing your financial position to sussing out the competition, data analysis done right can be a powerful tool for making school improvements. However, depending on your data management system, it may not always be easy to extract valuable insights from the data you collect.
Data reporting. Generating detailed reports, with just the right amount of data to present to different stakeholders is an art form in itself. Consider implementing software that can automate data reporting; reducing the likelihood of human error could save you all sorts of headaches down the track.
Data sharing. The ability to share data across teams and departments is something that gets overlooked often when it comes to managing school data, but it can be a real sticking point, hampering productivity, efficiency, and collaboration.
You may find that your process for collecting data works well, but it falls short when it comes to sharing that information with others or maybe your process or data management system doesn’t have a strong reporting function. A breakdown in any one of the above cornerstones could impact the way data is perceived and understood, which could lead to decision making that isn’t as well informed as it could be.
The importance of data management in education
Not all schools, childcare centres or education providers fully understand the importance of data collection in education and exactly how it can be harnessed to plan or predict the future of the organisation.
Here are some of the main benefits of data in education:
A deeper understanding of your competition
Insights into demographics and population
The ability to gather student data and monitor student performance
Improved teaching and learning outcomes
A more well-rounded view of your financial position now and in the future
How schools should approach long-term data management
Many schools and educational institutions face a crossroads when it comes to the way they approach school data over the long term. For many, the decision to upgrade from more manual methods of data management to automated solutions is one of the clearest paths to achieving genuine growth. But migrating from old to new is never easy – and a little help can go a long way.
Real client story: Integrating data streams for a consolidated source of truth with Findex Data Science
Findex partnered with Specialised Assistance School for Youth (SASY) to help them track and view valuable data from multiple sources more efficiently. This was achieved using the Findex Education Portal – an AI-based solution designed to help make education management practices more intuitive and streamlined. Here’s the full story.
SASY is a specialised assistance school for youths, taking an innovative approach to re-engaging vulnerable and disengaged students by reviving their motivation through holistic learning techniques that prioritise wellness.
SASY need to prepare many documents and consolidate data from multiple sources to prepare grant applications for each student, which is very time consuming and prone to human error.
Understandably, they require a platform that improves collecting data for each student, automatically populates grant applications, and uses the data to monitor student performance improvement.
“Due to rapid growth of the school, it became difficult to have ‘one source of truth’ that staff could check details easily and quickly from, without having to access multiple documents.” - Kelly Chambers, School Development Manager, SASY
When SASY first approached Findex, they stored student data in numerous disconnected Word documents, including data from student moderations, ad-hoc modifications, and initial assessments. For the school to keep up with its rapid growth, it was time to upgrade its processes.
Findex’s Education Portal provided SASY with a secure data store to replace the haphazard Word documents with more efficient strategies, enabling employees to quickly access data and track document completion on time. A school-wide interactive dashboard was created as well as a separate dashboard for each student, showing their assessment results, with the ability to drill down and view each student’s data, learning objectives, challenges, required adjustments, and disability status.
SASY now benefits from:
Quick access to data
Improved accuracy and efficiency
Easy to track student submissions
“Findex staff were helpful and resourceful when consulting with us on our documentation complexities and have built software that addresses our issues and simplifies accessing data from multiple sources. It was exactly what we asked for! Thanks to the Findex team for all your support and providing us with a custom solution that works for us.” - Kelly Chambers, School Development Manager, SASY
Data management with Findex
Is your school or organisation facing similar issues in data management? Our team of data scientists use your school’s financial and non-financial data to help optimise and improve strategic planning, financial stability, and operational performance, delivering a window to your school’s future.
For help with data management in schools, contact our experts in education today or request a demo of the Findex Education Portal. We’ll work with you to improve the quality of your school data across financial reporting, demographic shifting, student data, enrolment predictions and benchmarking for better visibility, accessibility and decision making.