Teachers and school administrators have used benchmarking tests and data in some way or another for a long time. One of the most common uses of data was recording scores in a record book so that students’ progress may be tracked. Also, examining and evaluating standardised test scores that measure a school student’s achievement when compared with students throughout the country or worldwide.
Use of data for comparing student outcomes
When a school analyses data derived from test scores it can play a vital role when addressing the presence of inequalities in educational outcomes for certain student groups. This could include gaps in achievement that persist between students who have been brought up in a lower-income household compared to those raised in higher-income households.
Other data derived from educational research could include specific student features such as nutrition, school attendance and quality of early childhood education programs. The results of the data collection may help to make positive decisions about improving learner outcomes.
On the administrative side, administrators and teachers may analyse data regarding student outcomes received from the scores of national and international standardised tests. This helps to improve benchmarking and facilitate positive decisions for their schools.
Different ways that benchmarking tests and data can be used
1. Use of data collected from the past
Past data reveals the skills that students have learned and this information helps teachers to plan what skills need to be taught next and if there are any areas where students may require extra help. Some standardised tests will indicate if a student is achieving at an advanced level, at an intermediate level or below an acceptable level. This data may help teachers decide if low achieving students should be moved to the front of the classroom so that they can be helped more easily.
2. Use of data tools to help schools evaluate student achievement
There is a lot of data driven new technology such as electronic record keeping which provides analytical tools that can quickly and accurately evaluate student performance. There are also apps available that offer assessments for teachers to use and once the results are recorded instant feedback can be given on student learning outcomes.
3. Creation of new lessons based on student preference data
Creating a database of student preferences can help to develop lessons that target the subjects that students like the best. From this data preferred learning styles and activities can be inbuilt into lessons.
Analysing data from homework grades and class test scores
When the results of analysing the data have been completed, a teacher may gain an insight into where a deficiency in understanding exists or what type of question formats pose the most challenges. When the teacher has been able to confirm the problems, he or she can design exercises and activities for students in the defined challenging areas that help improve their performance.
Analysis of the right data, including that collected from standardised international tests which are becoming more popular, allows schools and teachers to identify what contributes the most to student success and failure. Once confirmed, schools and teachers can devise solutions that will reduce failure and increase success.