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Edtech venture Zzish extends formative assessment platform

The move is intended to help Ministries of Education in developing countries increase accountability on school performance and spend

Posted by Julian Owen | December 15, 2017 | International

Zzish, the UK edtech company, aims to democratise access to advanced learning technologies for teachers, pupils and developers, and is extending its real-time data platform for schools. The broadened platform will enable Ministry of Education bodies worldwide to track regional and individual school performance against curriculum objectives in real-time, and thus enable them to identify and provide help to schools in most need earlier than is currently possible. 

The pilot project, launched this month with the Philippines Ministry of Education, enables teachers in the country’s Baatan Department of Education to get real time data on student performance, so that they can differentiate their teaching more effectively. The longer-term project aims to provide the Department with a real-time dashboard that, among other things, orders and sorts schools by curriculum mastery. If the scheme is successful, national dashboards will be produced and rolled out thereafter. 

The Philippines is “leading the way globally” by testing and deploying advanced new education technologies promising to transform learning outcomes for students at scale. Actionable insight from real-time student data at a provincial and national level is one such transformative technology. 

Teachers in Baatan province will use the usual Zzish teacher dashboards to set assignments in class and assess each student’s individual learning needs against core curriculum objectives in real-time. These dashboards help teachers identify who needs help, what they need help with, and how they can be helped. In the same way, the extended dashboards will help the Department of Education understand which schools need help, and in what regard. 

Cabcaben Elementary, Bataan, uses Zzish in its classrooms

The Philippines has a significant youth population, with a median age of over 23, and represents one of the fastest-growing Asian economies in recent years. There are nearly 50,000 public schools in the country and over half a million classrooms in the country.The government’s spend on education has increased every year since 2010yet still falls radically short of the UNESCO target, which recommends an investment of at least four to six per cent of GDP.

It's claimed the new tool will help the Government make better informed decisions on resources spending, and administer funds according to need, as well as increase accountability with more rigour and accuracy. The tool can also help identify which teachers are struggling and which are outstanding; pairing such teachers can help raise teaching standards across the country without any added expenditure. It can also measure the impact of interventions and new initiatives through A/B testing and provide reliable statistical evidence on efficacy. 

Charles Wiles, CEO and founder of Zzish, said: “It is challenging for government, local authorities and schools to spend on educational resources efficiently and with accountability, but new edtech can reduce the bureaucracy and improve and measure the impact of spend, whilst also addressing the engagement issues that come with education and teaching. 

Partnerships with Ministries of Education in territories such as the Philippines allow for a greater rate of edtech adoption that can really accelerate learning and bring additional accountability on spend in a way that’s never really been done before. These opportunities lie particularly in Asian territories, where edtech is being used to upskill vast working class populations. E-learning, online courses and MOOCs are optimising and democratising education in ways never before seen. China’s almost unparalleled investment in edtech speaks volumes about its approach to the future – education fuels knowledge, which in turn becomes power. Indeed, as Asian territories continue to lead with their adoption of new education technology, they will soon develop a massive local workforce that rivals and excels Western-born talent. This will in turn enable them to leapfrog the western economies. 

Education is the key to driving social mobility in a low-skill, industrialised world. It will fuel the success of the individual and drive prosperity for the global economy. Edtech is the enabler and its potential is truly vast. In the UK, where adoption of innovation in the classroom is hindered significantly by decentralised spend, the trajectory for meaningful improvement in learning and teaching will result in sluggish improvements in performance. The UK would certainly do well to take stock of what is occurring in the East and revisit its approach to increasing performance, accountability and targeted spend to finally move the needle on learning.”

For more information, please visit www.zzish.com

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