3 tips on how to measure ‘catching up’

As more children and young people return to face-to-face learning, there are many discussions going on related to ‘catching up’. How we measure the progress schools make in this area can be challenging. I hope these 3 tips will support your thinking around this.

  • What are you comparing against?

With any data analysis, every number needs a comparison to allow you decide on the action required from it. If you had one child or young person in your class who had been receiving remote teaching for many months, you would be able to compare their progress against the rest of the class, but what do you do when every child has been remotely taught? Are the baselines or targets you used before the pandemic still fit for purpose?

  • What gets measured get managed

Being able to tell whether a child or young person has the expected numeracy or literacy skills for their age is relatively simple, but what about the areas that are not being measured? We all know of children that have shown huge levels of resilience through the last year but there will be some who have and continue to struggle. Measuring the ‘health and wellbeing’ of children, young people (and the staff within schools) is difficult, but any area that is not measured risks not being managed.

  • Data is only one element

Data can be hugely powerful and helpful, but it is only one element. Data analysis becomes compelling when it is combined with the story of the data. If a group of children or young people need to ‘catch up’, understanding why this is the case and what actions are going to be taken to solve the issue is how you turn your ‘insight into action’.

I hope you have found this useful. If you would like to read more on data analysis within schools, please subscribe to my blog or sign up to my monthly e-newsletter.

About the author

Emma Nylk founded East Neuk Analytics in 2017 to support teachers to their understanding of the data related to their children in their schools. With over 10 years’ experience as an analyst, she brings her expertise from retail and financial businesses to help schools. She has been published in TES Scotland and member of the Data Advisory Group of Young Scot.

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