Schools are, compared to higher education, very dependent on initiatives from governments and governmental agencies. In the near future there will not be any developments regarding the use of learning analytics in schools unless there are national initiatives regarding standards, funding and knowledge sharing. In order to mirror the developments in Europe regarding learning analytics in schools we have asked a number of countries to share their plans and experiences for the coming years. We start with Denmark and hope to follow with at least 2-3 more countries.
Leo Højsholt-Poulsen, Denmark:
Denmark is an initial clarification phase where suppliers of learning platforms and producers of learning resources are making systems that can create data and handle data supported education. 4-5 platform vendors are providing progression data against learning objectives, including Common Objectives for primary and lower secondary education. At the same time we see more and more digital learning resources from private producers with integrated learning analytic elements.
The Ministry of Education (MoE) is building an infrastructure to provide data and make them available. In the User Portal initiative, the state makes data available through an Integration Platform for others to use them and build local solutions on top of them.
National IT services in the integration platform:
- Knowledge Portal (e.g. EMU, Materialeplatformen, SkoDa – Portals where you find inspiration for learning)
- EMU portal – Overview of the knowledge, methods and tools with documented evidence of effect
- Materialeplatformen – national repository of learning resources
- SkoDa – access to a giant virtual library
- Common Objectives (Common Objectives describes national attainment targets at different steps in each subject)
- Well-being objectives (National measurements of well-being in primary and lower secondary schools (indicators of pupils’ learning environment, well-being, peace and order))
- National online tests (Tools for continuous monitoring in primary and lower secondary school, which can contribute to future organization of learning)
- The final exams
- Accession (Digitizing the application process for enrollment to secondary and higher education)
- Guide to Education and Training / e-Guide (Digital guide providing information about education, jobs, business and labor, as well as offering guidance on training and job via email, chat, SMS or phone)
- Data warehouse (A central data warehouse and business intelligence environment that gathers data on the entire education sector, e.g. analytical results from the MoE’s analyzes of national tests and examinations)
We are working to come from management information to data for teaching and learning. For example, the national online tests are also for use by teachers in their daily teaching. The data are to be used for more than summative management information. The detailed knowledge that the teacher gets about the student’s strengths and weaknesses in the different topics of the subject, can effectively be used formatively to intervene where the student needs help to move forward.
In general, there might be a point in a distinction between learning and teaching; the data recorded by a resource or a system of the student’s performance might direct or guide the student through her individual learning path. Also, the data might guide the teacher on the proper intervention that will help the student tackle the problems that appear to be the most difficult for her.
The strategy is to try to stimulate a data culture and make teachers curious to try. Maybe you can also save time on evaluation and organization of teaching, freeing up more time for the teacher with students. The premise is that schools are responsible for the data and their provision. The data that they supply to the State at the national level can also be used to learn about what works.
The MoE’s plan is to become sufficiently competent in the LA area, so we can advise on it.
We have not yet solved the issue of assessing, documenting and describing students’ progression in a standardized way transferable from one system to another across learning resources and platforms. A possibility might be two measure progression against the common attainment targets given by the national Common Objectives curriculum (for basic primary and lower secondary education). Pilots and research will be necessary.
Chief Advisor, Ministry of Education