Colegio Nueva Granada Uses Data to Develop Student Potential
Better understanding of student needs, data, curriculum, and learning
“Families have choices about where to send their students, so education, like other industries, has to demonstrate that it’s providing a value-added product,” says Olga Polyakov, assessment data analyst. “Our mission is to motivate students to fulfill their individual potential for excellence. To achieve this, CNG seeks to be a top school in Colombia—as well as in Latin America—so we can successfully compete for excellent teachers in the international marketplace.
“Our data comes to us from standardized testing companies as one Excel file after another. The process of merging data sources is very error prone, and
that was a major challenge. Also, it’s difficult to move between different subpopulations within Excel. The data in our student information system is manually entered by hundreds of teachers. It turned out that not all that information is entered correctly. We really didn’t have a way to control data quality.
“The impact of not addressing these challenges would be an inability to provide teachers with information they could use to develop interventions as they work with students. Additionally, without the ability to interact with data in an efficient way, we couldn’t figure out where to put financial resources, and then evaluate if those investments were successful.”
“Our main objectives were to give teachers real-time access to consolidated data from many different data sources so they could, without working very hard, know who their students were in terms of academic strengths and weaknesses, and differentiate the educational experience for those students,” continues Ms. Polyakov.
“Our main requirement was to enable dashboards so we could work on many different levels: administrators could look at entire school trends or at primary, elementary, or middle schools; teachers could look at entire classrooms or individual students. Now, dashboard authors design dashboards, then publish them to the Spotfire Web Player, so staff can log in and examine relevant data. Also, the ability to merge data files by columns and rows is very useful. It allows us to bring together longitudinal data from a variety of different data sources into one data table. We either keep the data as an Excel data source or read it into a SQL database for the creation of information links.
“I began my research into BI tools and found BI products to be more flexible than education tools. I found TIBCO Spotfire®, downloaded the free trial version, and received an email. In that way, my relationship with TIBCO began.
“We now have a highly flexible product that allows us to bring together data from a variety of data sources, display it, and deliver visual analytics to our community.”
Immediate Understanding of Student Needs
“Traditionally, there are two issues with data-driven education,” says Polyakov. “One is getting the data; the second is knowing what to do with it. Number one was so difficult that teachers never really tackled number two.
“We now have the ability to deliver information to teachers in a highly flexible format, and that information is specific to the students in their classroom. It
allows teachers to know their students very quickly—from the beginning of the school year before they’ve even learned their names—to know their academic strengths and weaknesses and to work to address them before they’ve observed those weaknesses personally.
“The benefits that students realize from Spotfire is that their teachers have easy access to a 360-degree view of their data. Their teachers are able to think about how best to teach each student on an individual basis.”
Quality Data, Curriculum, Student Experience Leading to Excellence
“The main outcome is our ability to proactively control data quality in the student information system, and then proceed to ask and answer interesting questions and explore topics, such as curriculum inconsistencies. That helps us achieve our goal of being a top school in Colombia and Latin America.
“The significant impact we’ve realized using Spotfire is that teachers have unprecedented access to real-time information on their students’ learning. They’re able to dig deeper into individual students, see how their students did at the end of the unit, and this allows teaching teams to reflect. Using the Spotfire tool and the Gradebook dashboard, we’re able to see if teachers are really teaching the same content. Over time, they’re able to improve the course, address curriculum inconsistencies, and deliver a more standardized learning experience that also helps students achieve to their highest potential.”
“Our next steps are to develop dashboards for the operational areas of CNG. And then we also want to begin to explore the more sophisticated statistical tools within Spotfire, such as predictive analytics.”