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New support service helps DP educators analyze assessment data to enhance student outcomes

Liza TerceroLiza Tercero has a long relationship with the Diploma Programme. Initially a DP teacher, Liza was an IB curriculum and assessment manager and also led DP professional development at the global level for five years. Recently, she contributed to the formation of the IB School Enhancement Services, as a development manager. Now she is helping to bring the data analysis support service for DP educators successfully through school trials.

In discussing the need for data analysis among DP educators, Liza describes a situation common to many DP schools: “For years, schools got assessment results from IBIS and many didn’t know how to analyze them in a meaningful manner. It’s difficult,” she says. “Results aren’t in a format easy to analyze. Previously, there was no way to find world averages for overall point scores for a particular subject.”

Today, Optimizing Data Analysis (DP) is trialing in 18 IB schools. The service works like this: A school requests a report to look closely at student data. A data-crunching tool with various components is used by trained IB consultants to generate school-specific reports, which identify trends, provide data ‘snapshots’ of student performance, and generate ‘learning conversations’ with school-leader ‘clients’. A school might receive their report within days of requesting it, including a description of trends spotted over a three-year timeframe. Following receipt, an hour-long webinar is scheduled to discuss it. The school may request up to five areas of the report to focus on during the webinar, which is recorded and provided to the school for further sharing with teams and across disciplines.

“Learning conversations are not a stick to beat teachers with,” says Liza. “They are a tool to help achieve a school’s goals.”

Through careful data analysis, the service’s consultants are able to make suggestions that address challenges the data may highlight. Encouraged by data that provide snapshots of class outcomes, a teacher may consider changing a cohort, changing the demographics in the class, adjusting the curriculum, or tweaking some other aspect of the teaching/learning environment.

The basic level of the DP data analysis service looks at TOK and the Extended Essay and the overall cohort’s performance: points scored; spread of points. An intensified tier of the service extends to performance across HL subjects or SL subjects and drills down into six DP subjects selected by the school to look at student achievement in each DP component, in the finest granularity possible.

Liza reports that the schools currently participating in the trial are enthusiastic about the data analysis service. “Overwhelmingly, schools appreciate the report and its contents.” She emphasizes the fact that “no value judgments” are made, just high quality, helpful insights are provided for use in professional learning communities and faculty meetings.

Liza counts off four ways that Optimizing Data Analysis (DP) can support positive change in DP schools:

  1. By providing detailed, data-driven insights as a precursor to self-study prior to programme evaluation.
  2. By reinvigorating discussions among faculty based on a current snapshot of trending student performance across DP subject areas.
  3. By opening discussions that potentially lead to changes in school culture. For example, a discussion might focus on the problem of over-predicting student grades and lead to sharing of methods and practices that enable teachers to predict actual outcomes more accurately.
  4. By providing data and analysis that stimulate DP teaching teams to discuss and share best practices, thus lifting DP implementation as a whole.

Liza says that during training sessions held last year, service consultants were so enthusiastic about demonstrating the new service and the tools that generate reports that “their positive reception multiplied our confidence in the value of the service tenfold.”

An additional level of the service with an onsite visit from a data analysis consultant may be developed and piloted in the future.


Would you like to become a School Enhancement Service Provider? A new training session will be held during September 2015 (cost-free to selected educators). The IB is accepting applications from interested educators until July 21.

 

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