A: There’s a huge difference between reading static reports and exploring your data. For one thing, time is an issue for all educators at every level. When they have questions, they need to be able to answer them quickly, and you can’t do that wading through reports. For another, the report might be dated, with information that’s no longer helpful. In an analytics solution, the data is always up-to-date, and you can easily sort and filter it to answer your exact questions. With reports, you have to hope that the report writer had the same questions you do.
Q: What kinds of questions can educators ask in an analytics system?
A: There are three main types: learning, institutional, and engagement. You really need to look at all three to get a clear and holistic picture of district, school, and student performance.
Q: What do you mean by learning analytics?
A: Learning analytics measure the student’s actual learning state: what students know, what they don’t know, and, potentially, why. This insight helps you optimize learning through information, recommendation, and personalization. Learning analytics are actionable.
Q: OK, how about institutional analytics?
A: Institutional analytics track students across their educational lifecycle from enrollment to graduation. The data is comprised of information such as demographics (age, gender, ethnicity), courses, pace of grade completion, use of support services, and graduation rates. This data helps you align tactical initiatives with institutional, state, or federal funds, identify practices with high return on investment, and determine high-risk students earlier to provide more targeted support.
Q: And engagement analytics?
A: Engagement analytics track student activity within the course environment. Engagement analytics do not necessarily measure learning, per se, but rather, student activity, which may or may not signal actual learning. However, they can help you identify students who may need additional support as well as help determine effectiveness of student support interventions.
Q: How does Scantron support these activities?
A: Through the dashboards and data visualizations in our data exploration solution, Scantron Analytics. With a few clicks, educators can answer the types of questions above and much more. And they don’t have to parse the information out of data tables—we present the data in charts, graphs, and other visuals that make it easy to see patterns for the big picture of overall achievement as well as the detailed picture for each student, and everything in between.