As the noise volume increases over teachers “getting away” with underperforming, some schools are taking steps to improve that image. Data driven decision making is becoming more popular as teachers discover how it can benefit students. This approach to learning measures student performance against achievable goals, and allows ample time to correct student behavior.

How that data driven approach influences learning is interesting to business leaders, who routinely measure the performance of their employees based on some of the same principles.

Types of Data

Typical student data that teachers might collect would be things like class participation, or letter grade performance on tests. In New Jersey, Assistant Superintendent Raymond Hryczyk says that data driven education has helped his teachers create “a rich, stimulating environment focused on thoughtful learning.”

The theory goes that teachers would have to manually enter some of this data into programs that track student progress. Programs can be simple spreadsheets or advanced data rendering applications that compile data into graphs or diagrams.

Letter grades do become increasingly more important during the evaluation process, but students and parents are asked for comment as well. Those opinions may influence some of the decision making that goes into teaching. For example, a series of high test scores and students saying that a class is too simple may trigger administration to revise a lesson plan.

Concrete Benefits

There are a variety of individual cases where data driven intelligence led to better decisions. Most of these cases apply directly to curriculum adjustments that better meet the needs of students and teachers, but one finding jumps out across all case studies. Data driven models can find the outliers, the students underperforming, and pull them out of the bubble.

Data enables school administrators to find the kids who would benefit the most from instruction, and deliver that instruction on a more personal level. The data driven model allows teachers to show evidence of a child’s learning difficulties and make concrete suggestions on improving them.

Extracting Data from Your Business

Schools are starting to see huge benefits from tracking student progress and maintaining a system of accountability. So how can you get in on the action? The first step is determining what data you want to extract. For example, when you’re building a website you’ll want to know which pages are more popular. More than that, you’ll want to know which pages have the highest time spent onsite. Why?

Well a few reasons:

·  Users may be confused by your pitch. Low onpage times with high traffic volumes indicate something is wrong with your copy

·  High time spent with low traffic numbers often mean the page has value but no one can find it. Check your navigation

·  Knowing how a user arrived onsite will help you tailor the content he sees when he gets there

Have you ever heard of SEO? Search Engine Optimization is all about taking a data-driven approach to building your website. Using programs like Google Analytics, SEO tracks user interactions and helps you improve your website. The kind of content you write, the way your pages are arranged and the keywords you use all affect your site’s indexing online.

Setting Goals

The next step is learning what to do with that data. Building off of Analytics, Google’s data monitoring program allows you to create experiments. These experiments send some of your traffic to an “A” page and some to a “B” page. Testing elements of your landing page, with one constant and one variable, will help you find new combinations that lead to better conversion rates.

Set goals for yourself, like measuring conversions or improving traffic by a certain percentage, then use the experiments to help reach them.

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