Every year, a surplus of data is collected regarding a student’s education. However, if this data is not aggregated appropriately in the right software, it loses its ability to be used as an effective tool to improve education.
It is important to still pay attention to the individual student, but there is significant value that comes from looking at how all students perform under the tutelage of a specific teacher over time.
This can be especially important with international students who’s goal in attending an ELICOS/EFL school is learning English. A large part of their future success will be based off of how well they are able to speak English.
In Australia to cite an example, more and more students are attending ELICOS schools--with a 4% student increase in 2015 alone. Each student will enter with an IELTS equivalent score, which is becoming a more popular way to evaluate international student’s ability to speak English. In fact, since April 6th it is one of only two approved Secure English Language Testing providers in the UK.
Once a student starts at an English language school, it is important to monitor how much their IELTS score improves over time. During each course the school may administer mock IELTS every month to six weeks in order to track the student’s improvement.
Doing this allows the school to see how an individual student improves, and how much all students improve while being taught by different teachers.
A hypothetical example of this would be if a student at a language school named Lisa is taught by a teacher named Kevin for her first module. When she enters the module she has an IELTS equivalent score of 4.0 (the highest score on the test is a 9.0), and by the time she finishes the class her score is 4.5.
From this information the school would then be able to determine that Lisa improved her ability to speak English by a progression of 0.5.
Lisa then takes her second module with a teacher named Jillian, and by the time she finishes the module her IELTS equivalent score is 5.5. She has improved her score by 1.0., and by 0.5 more that she did while being taught Kevin.
However, it is not useful to conduct teacher assessments from a single student, as there may be other mitigating factors or extraneous variables that affect a student’s performance such as motivation, stress, illnesses, etc.
In order to appropriately use the data, it is important to gather a much larger sample size. If both Kevin and Jillian taught 200 students over the same 6-month-period, and the average progression of students taught by Kevin is 1.5, and the average for Jillian is 1.0, then upon review the management team will see that Kevin improved the students’ scores more.
In addition, the school would be able to see that Lisa’s progression likely is not an indication of Kevin’s performance. They will then be able to look at what mitigating factors potentially contributed to her lack of improvement while being taught by Kevin, and thus be able to better assist her in the future.
As tempting as it is, this data should not be used, in isolation, as a way of choosing the best teachers. Instead, it should be used as a tool that enables an administration to better serve their students.
There are three main ways aggregated data may be used: by monitoring high performing teachers, by monitoring low performing teachers, and by showing the aggregated results to prospective students.
Each school undoubtedly has teachers who significantly improve upon their student’s knowledge of the English language. Once a school discovers who these teachers are by analyzing student IELTS scores with their student management system, a school can begin to identify why these teachers perform well.
Why a teacher performs well could be for a variety of reasons, such as how they structure their lesson plans, what method they use for disciplining their students, or how often they are available outside of class time.
Whatever the reasons are, being able identify high performing teachers and techniques can provide an incredible amount of value to your school. It can help well-performing teachers to know what not to change, as well as give teachers who are not performing as well some insight on how to improve.
Whenever there are high performing teachers, there must also be low performing teachers. Finding out who these teachers are is just as, if not more important than finding out who the high performing teachers are.
Again, by analyzing a school’s data, it will be easy to see which teachers are performing poorly.
Once the low performing teachers are identified, the information gathered from monitoring the school’s high performing teachers can be utilized.
Enabling each teacher to have a significant impact on the improvement of their students’ IELTS scores will be extremely beneficial to a school, especially when it comes to attracting prospective students.
No matter how fluent a parent or agent’s English is, it can still be difficult to explain to them why they should pick one school over the other. However, an effective way to communicate this is by showing them the data.
If presented with numbers that clearly show that a large portion of a school’s students significantly improved their IELTS score during each module, it will be much easier for that parent or agent to choose that school for their student.
That is why it is so important for a school to make sure that it has high performing teachers, and that low performing teachers are shown how to improve.
In addition, having the right management software that can help to provide all of this information is integral to any international school’s success in 2016, because any school without it is likely to be left behind in this complex environment.