‘Little’ data will be the saviour

Promethean’™s Ian Curtis explains why ‘little’ data can make a big difference to UK assessment reforms

The UK Assessment Reforms have already made a big impact on schools, and more specifically, the teachers responsible for implementing the changes.

Assessment has traditionally put greater emphasis on a summative approach, which generally benchmarks students’ progress against ‘levels’. However, with renewed emphasis on formative assessment, the Assessment Reforms have put the power back with the schools, and teachers, to decide how best to measure progress. In time, teachers will no longer be judged on how many students achieve benchmarked levels. Instead, evaluation will be made on the actual progress students make.

But with class sizes only getting bigger and administration burdens increasing, how can teachers possibly continually assess students to effectively monitor progress and adjust learning programmes accordingly?

The reality is that technology has a fundamental role to play in the roll out of the Assessment Reforms. Not at policy level, of course, but in the classroom – where it matters most. The difference between having technologies which facilitate assessment in the classroom, and not, is the difference between having complete visibility of every student or having a partial picture of their baseline, potential and progress.

You might have heard the phrase ‘big data’ banded around in the media, but in the context of Assessment Reforms, it’s actually ‘little’ data that will be the saviour. As opposed to the concept of ‘big data’, the compilation of system-wide information that provides a rear-view mirror’s perspective of behaviours and trends, ‘little’ data for educators refers to the real-time, in-the-moment insights that can improve lesson delivery and learning outcomes. It’s a fact that significant investments have been made in classroom technologies, but few have provided teachers with the data and insight they need to assess each student’s comprehension in the moment of learning.

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With ClassFlow, this is about to change. Connecting 1:1 devices with front-of-class teaching solutions, ClassFlow gives teachers a powerful teaching tool for creating and orchestrating interactive multimedia lessons. Using ClassFlow, teachers can deliver interactive content in new ways, receive real-time insight into student learning and progress and customise learning activities based on individual learning styles and needs.

In simple terms, ClassFlow harnesses the potential of classroom technology and gives the teacher a tool that not only makes formative assessment much easier and more engaging to implement – it also gathers the ‘little’ data as a by-product of teaching and learning… which means no need to collect books to mark student’s work, and reporting on progress can be easily done with the click of a button.

There’s no doubt that technology has a major role to play in the success of the Assessment Reforms. By using the right technology, teachers can gather real-time data on students whilst still focusing on supporting the same students in realising their true potential. 

Ian Curtis is Head of Western Europe, Africa, Australia & New Zealand (ANZ), at Promethean.

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