Did you know that every website you visit records every page you flipped and what you did on those pages? Now you know. I call it “hidden CCTV” because it’s a sure bet that the owner of the website may not know you personally but at least they will know someone visited some pages. You may be asking yourself of what importance would this be to the owner of the website. Rest assured. Extremely important.
When brick & mortar business decides to have an online presence, they build a website to put their products. These days websites act much like a physical shop because of the integration of eCommerce. The owners will be able to sell their products to the clients who can order directly from the website. Now, this takes us back to why it is important for the website owner to know which pages you visited on their websites and what you did on those pages.
If you’re familiar with Digital Marketing, you may be familiar with what’s called Google Analytics. It’s a free tool that website owners use to collect all the necessary website data in order to make informed decisions. A practical example, which is often very common is that you visit a website and leave immediately. This is called “bouncing off visitors” which is, of course, harmful for the business.
Depending on why you wanted people to visit your website, I doubt if there is any single business whose goal is to have as many bouncing off visitors as possible. Now, this is where data is important to make an informed decision. Google Analytics shall provide data on why visitors continue to bounce off. For example, if there is a poor layout of the website, no one would want to stick in there, digging up what they are looking for. Such can only be acted upon based on the provided data.
Teachers can use the same concept to make decisions within the classroom. However, data-driven decision making in the classroom requires a cyclic approach as opposed to what I call the “old way” or scientific way which involves a linear way of teaching, assessing, repeat. The scientific method follows; generation of ideas, formulation of hypothesis, designing a scientific investigation, collecting data, data analysis, conclusion, and repeat.
In data-driven decision making, the data collected is used at every stage of learning. Teachers don’t stop at one particular point and discard the data. There is a caveat though. Many teachers have complained that there is so much information carried in the standardized tests to analyze and use continuously. This is true but there is a solution.
In cases where teachers find it difficult to analyze the data of Assessment of Learning (AoL), it is imperative to use the Assessment for Learning (AfL). It’s only the traditional teaching practices that teachers waited to test students of their learning process at the end of the unit. The best practices require teachers to continuously test students for their learning process or formative assessments.
The data that has been gathered from day to day activities that students do in the classroom such as peer feedback and self-assessments are interpreted. This data is extremely important because it will help the teacher to decide where the learners are in their learning, where they need to go, and how best to get there. Teachers will also use the data to initiate intervention strategies for some of their students in the classroom. So data-driven decision making is extremely important in our classrooms today if we care for the improvement of our learners.