Manipulating the results
Most teachers have sophisticated data analysis tools at their fingertips, but they often haven’t been shown how to get the most out of them.
Jessica Craig from Accent Learning gives teachers one-on-one support in advanced use of Microsoft Excel - the powerful analysis tool that most people have on their computers, while usually barely scratching the surface of its capabilities.
Jessica is able to show teachers a few clever new tricks that can be real time savers.
Kay Phillips – head of maths at Porirua’s Aotea College, says her newly enhanced skills have cut in half the amount of time needed to do the analysis of student performance that is required to meet the school’s reporting requirements.
“In the past I’ve used the Excel spread sheet and I’ve gone through and manually sorted everything myself.
“If you know how to use pivot tables, it does it all for you.
“You can get so much more done in much less time – which for teachers is a very important thing.”
Teachers and schools are increasingly required to report on and be accountable for student performance in a very detailed and transparent way.
Used wisely, Excel can be a very effective and positive tool for manipulating information such as student literacy or numeracy achievement data and spotting any areas or groups that need attention across the student body.
The effective analysis of performance data is required to identify the teacher’s added value and to identify the strengths and weaknesses of teaching strategies, as well as students’ strengths and weaknesses, Kay says.
Jessica Craig says it’s best taught one-on-one using peoples own data. “You don’t need very long.”
“It’s a very powerful tool – you can disaggregate the data and show achievement of specific groups such as Maori or Pasifika – and represent them in nice graphs within about two minutes, provided you have the data entered correctly.
“We’re really being pushed into data-driven decision making, but in fact data is only useful if you really use it to guide your planning.
“It’s to help people ask questions and to keep track of groups – so you can see: ‘Oh my Pasifika boys really made progress last year – what happened? – why did that happen?
“It prompts the asking of questions. It’s a way of managing data so you can quickly get a picture of what’s changed.”
Kay Phillips says the training Accent Learning provided was very easy to follow and very clearly explained, she says. “I found it very beneficial.”