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[Edmentum’s Commitment] Actionable Data to Inform Instruction

Tuesday, August 9, 2016 -- John Bowie

Edmentum is committed to making it easier for educators to individualize learning for every student. This post is the third in a series where we will focus on each of the four components of this commitment: simple technology, quality content, actionable data, and customer success. Check out the first post on Simple Technology for Intuitive Use here and the second on Quality Content for Inspired Instruction here.

What is the biggest challenge facing teachers today? We ask this question of educators whenever we observe a classroom, host a focus group, or conduct a market research survey. The answer we receive is almost always the same: teachers never have enough time. Time to pinpoint the skill gaps of each student individually and of their class as a whole, time to find resources to address these skill gaps, time to evaluate if those resources are working, or time to pour through all the data coming out of their digital tools in order to make better, more informed, instructional decisions.

While student data can help teachers personalize instruction to meet students where they are and lead them forward, too much data coming from different sources- presented in tables and charts that are difficult to understand- can be overwhelming. Instead of saving time, teachers tell us time spent sifting, aggregating, and analyzing data consumes more of their time – time that could be spent more productively working with students.

At Edmentum, designing products that save teachers time is a core part of our commitment to being educators’ most trusted partner in creating successful student outcomes.  One of the ways we accomplish this is by focusing on providing educators with comprehensive data on their students’ activity, achievement, and growth – data that is actionable, visual, insightful, and secure.

Not Just Data…Actionable Data

Edmentum unleashes the power of student data by enabling educators to take immediate action. In Edmentum Sensei for Study Island, for example, a teacher can gauge at a glance how a class is performing on state standards. They can zero in on a standard several students in their class are struggling with and, with one click or tap, take immediate action to group those struggling students together and assign them additional practice to help them get back on track.

This is approach – ensuring data does not merely identify students who need attention but also empowers educators to take immediate action in response to that data – is essential to saving teachers time.

Not Just Data…The Educator’s World, Visualized

Edmentum provides an extensive report library for each of our products, as well as dashboards that deliver real-time charts of key performance indicators that teachers and administrators need to manage their classes and programs. But we also strive to visualize our data in “natural” ways reflective of an educator’s world. When teachers log in to Edmentum Sensei for Plato Courseware, for example, they don’t simply see an abstract table of student data; instead, they see the students in their class and a summary of each student’s most recent activity. From there, they can drill into increasing levels of detail to get a complete picture of how each student is performing.

At Edmentum, we are constantly striving to find ways to represent the “things” teachers care about like students, subjects, standards, resources, and assignments, in ways that mirror the real world and are easy to use and understand.

Not Just Data…Insights

Data by itself provides no value unless meaning can be extracted from it. In order for data to save – rather than consume – time, it must be presented in a way that allows teachers and administrators to instantly gather insights into how their students are performing at individual, class, grade, school, and district levels. 

Imagine a typical sequence of questions a teacher might ask as she creates lesson plans for the upcoming week. One path of inquiry might be:

  • Which students in my class are struggling?
  • Which skills are these students struggling with?
  • How can I group similar students together to address their common skill gaps?
  • What instructional resources do I have that can address each group’s skill gaps?
  • How can I assess whether the supplemental instruction I assign has closed each group’s skill gaps?

 And then later in the week, after the students have completed their additional assignments:

  • Are the skill gaps closing? Did my instructional strategy work?   

Edmentum’s actionable data strategy strives to ensure lines of inquiry like this can flow seamlessly from one question to the next, rather than requiring educators to extract their answers from multiple, disparate reports. In addition, Edmentum’s products anticipate questions and alert educators when something needs their attention whenever possible.

Edmentum’s Commitment to Data Privacy

While educators need data to inform their instructional strategies, they also need assurance student data is kept secure. It is the policy of Edmentum to strive to comply with all applicable privacy and data protection laws. In addition, our Mission states we are “…committed to being educators’ most trusted partner…”  The efforts we make in protecting the privacy and confidentiality of student data are essential to keeping and maintaining that trust.

Want to see our commitment to actionable data in action? Watch this short video to see how schools across the country are partnering with Edmentum to help support formative assessment strategies in the classroom!