How can Schools use Data
A case for assessment-led school improvements
The importance of data is something that we are coming to understand everyday. Whether it is about the kind of engagement that we are able to build on our social media posts, or about the data showing the realities of the current health crisis that we are in, data has the power to lift us from tough situations and encourage us to act. As we know, student enrollment in government schools is a challenge that spreads across all contexts in our country and the situation is becoming challenging in the current Covid scenario all the more. Every year, school leaders in coordination with the state’s department of education take innovative initiatives to ensure that the public education system reaches the maximum number of students in the country. A unique initiative that was taken up by the Government of Delhi to enable school leaders strengthen the trust of the community in the government schooling system was the School development Index Program. The program was an assessment-led improvement program, and the focus was to empower school leaders through data, with the thought that improvement-initiatives in government schools would encourage parents from the community to enroll their children in the schools.
The program involved large scale school assessments for measuring the performance of schools on parameters like school safety and security, teaching and learning, social inclusion and community engagement. These assessments were a deviation from the regular pen-paper mode and were executed using the assessments capability on ShikshaLokam platform. The results of these assessments were made available to the respective school leaders. The next step to the assessments was creating individual action plans towards school improvement. The schools, depending upon the levels achieved across the parameters, created action plans for the areas that they wanted to improve first. The assessment-led improvement approach, in a lot of schools, led to the conduct of periodic school safety walks where school staff, and representatives from parent and student community took part periodically. This further led to creation of strategies to improve the level of safety in the school. This initiative saw participation of school leaders, members from the community and the students also, bringing each of them closer to the identity of their own schools.
Conventionally there are limited opportunities for stakeholders to interact with their own data that can help them decide actionable in their work, within their context. Through the School Index program, the school leaders were empowered to use their own data to take informed decisions towards school improvement. Do such opportunities exist where you think your stakeholders can use data to shape their work, share with us!