Student Feedback And Data-Driven Decision Making In Schools

Steph Wood

Effectively and proactively gathering and using student feedback data across your school is critical to improving teaching and learning, school experiences and wellbeing outcomes. This information plays an important part in being a truly data-driven school. Data-driven decision making in schools is a system of procedures that allows teachers and leaders to identify where students and cohorts are struggling, make changes and track progress. 

The question for schools is how can we effectively harness the right types of data and ensure it flows to those who can utilize it to make change?

Asking students for their input has two leading benefits

Firstly they feel that their voice is heard and encourages agency in their learning and school environments. But secondly, it harnesses an often untapped data source. Proactive and consistent collection and use of student feedback data allows for progressive insights and subsequent adjustments. Schools that are truly data-driven in this way see clear improvements across the school : 

  • Teachers feel empowered to adjust their planning with the right data regularly at hand 
  • Leaders understand progress and achievement across a more holistic range of metrics (beyond simply academic data)
  • Aligning data collection with school strategy helps validate decision making and underscores school improvement to key stakeholders

Amongst the schools that do this will, which is to say schools that are truly data-driven, we tend to notice three common traits:

  1. They achieve "data flow" by gathering data every day
  2. They democratize their data - ensuring it's in the hands of those who can actually make change
  3. They use their student data in a proactive sense - to identify issues before they become problems

What are the key learnings here for your school?

When creating a data-driven school environment, there are a few key factors to bear in mind and prioritize:

  • Student input is a crucial source of information for the school, but having this data collected in a consistent method across the school is critical 
  • Ensure information is captured across the entire student experience - academics, wellbeing, environment. 
  • Make data flow a priority - regular, low-touch information that is captured in a system that is easy to interpret and goes to those who can use it to make change, or decisions, whether that’s teachers, leaders or others.
  • Once that data flow is created, use proactive measures to identify issues before they become systemic problems. This is especially important in areas such as wellbeing.

At Ziplet, we believe deeply in the power of student feedback data. It is a crucial support for teachers in managing their classes and developing their practice, and provides robust, rich insights to school leadership, allowing for informed and highly relevant strategic decisions to be made. It is certainly an ongoing process, involving learning and iterative development. Uniquely, the earlier you start collecting it, the more impactful it becomes, and more quickly - a compounding benefit to your school’s journey.  If this sounds like something your school could benefit from, we’d love to hear from you - get in touch to understand how we can help your school. 

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