School’s data-driven insights turning the tables for at-risk students

School’s data-driven insights turning the tables for at-risk students

A few years ago, Rob Barugh, director of learning technology at Hale School realised the school had a big data problem. While teachers collected troves of data about their students’ learning, there was no central place to access, or process, all of this information.

For example, when a parent had a question about their son’s performance, they would contact their pastoral care provider who would then send multiple messages to different staff to get the boy’s grades and progress.

Compiling this information for parents could take up to four days, placing an unhelpful burden on the school’s already busy staff. So, Barugh did some research to find out what systems were available which would allow him to streamline the whole process.

In the beginning, it was trial and error process, but after working with data analytics company Qlik, Hale School was able to build a student assessment dashboard that enabled access to students’ cumulative results. This allowed the sharing of critical aspects about each student with pastoral care staff, school administrators, teachers and parents.

The Qlik Sense dashboard has since enabled teachers at the school to see when, and why, a student is suddenly underperforming.

“The academic office and pastoral staff can now globally identify academically at-risk students and do this considerably earlier than before. This allows for early intervention of support and enrichment programmes,” Barugh told The Educator.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the data analytic solution has made monitoring student attendance particularly effective and allowed the school to identify our peaks in student absence and plan accordingly.”

Barugh said Hale School is also leveraging data analytics to weigh the risks and benefits of altering its curriculum and outdoor education programme.

“After a few years acclimatising to Qlik and what it was capable of, we started to look more purposely for large data sets and solving the specific needs of individual departments,” he said.

“The 20 years’ worth of meticulously maintained near-miss reports from the Outdoor Education department was an ideal Qlik project and resulted in unearthing a wealth of useful information.”

Barugh said analysis of this data set has allowed Hale School to make risk assessment decisions with a higher degree of certainty.

“This specific solution has helped identifying the types of Outdoor Education activities, along with the specific time of day, weather conditions and fatigue point, that might contribute to a near-miss incident.” 

Paul Leahy, Country Manager ANZ at Qlik, said the use of data analytics is making a significant difference in helping school leaders better manage their administrative workloads and focus on their core job.

“I don’t think you can find a better example of how data analytics can reduce the admin burden to save time and allow staff to focus on their core jobs than the Hale School example,” Leahy told The Educator.

“As Rob pointed out, teachers and pastoral care staff were taking a large amount of time just to respond to parents’ questions about their son’s performance as the school had to use separate platforms to get information.”

“Using the Qlik Sense student assessment dashboard, the school now has details about each student in one place.”