Multi Academy Trusts (MATs) and schools have a plethora of data, so why aren’t they all able to use it effectively? And how can they turn this around?
To help answer these questions, we’ve drawn up a reference document focussing on the Data Audit, which talks you through how you can get a better handle of your data and make it an integral factor for your MATs success.
This blog post is a shortened version so you can have a quick read. However, for more detail, download the above note.
Our experience is that many MATs are effective at collecting data. In fact, they are collecting so much that they are drowning in it, because they lack the tools to cost-and-time effectively and accurately analyse it so it can be used for decision making.
We’ve helped many clients to understand and use their data more effectively and the first step to achieving this is to carry out a Data Audit. Here are the five steps undertaken in a Data Audit:
Identify the data area to be explored
To ensure a focussed process, it is imperative to decide which data area you need to focus on. As ICT Education Consultants, we start with a data strategy meeting, which includes key stakeholders, to identify the area that the audit must consider.
We group the data sources into three areas:
Establish what data is collected
This is where we find out what data is actually being collected by teachers, administrative staff, facilities management, management and leaders of the school and MAT.
We then examine every source of data for its completeness, why it’s being collected and whether it provides actionable insight.
Data that isn’t allowing you to drill down to get clues that help you understand “why is that happening?” is not worth the time collecting, storing and analysing. If you can’t ask such questions, then your teachers and staff may be using their valuable time to input needless data.
How is the data being stored?
Many MATs continue to grow with new academies often taken on in rapid succession. This means disparate data sources and systems, resulting in data being stored differently ranging from traditional pen and paper, spreadsheets to Management Information Systems (MIS).
This presents some key issues:
- Difficulties accessing data
- Poor trust wide view
- Inability to identify patterns and trends
- Difficulties to make informed, timely decisions and interventions
- Costly and time-consuming
- Lack of staff trust in the data
As well as being frustrating, these issues can be costly and time-consuming. Therefore, it is essential to get a complete picture before you can put improvements in place.
Current software and ICT tools
As part of investigating how data is stored, we also analyse the current software and ICT Tools you use and their appropriateness. The nature of a growing MAT often means there are multiple ICT tools. This ca mean that data is misaligned and difficult to extract and analyse. To determine the tools suitability, we explore: data errors within the systems, security levels, legal basis, effectiveness, effort required to use them and if the data is repeated between multiple tools.
Having an ICT Tool that can store and interrogate the data in one place is the top standard. After years of seeing MATs struggle with this, we developed Questa, that does just this. It brings togetherkey data from all of your schools in a visual dashboard format, allowing you to quickly see what is happening and to ask the right questions. Visit our Questa website or read our product sheet to learn more about Questa and how it can benefit you and your school or MAT.
Presenting the results of the Data Audit
We like to practice what we preach and pull together all our findings from the Data Audit into a report so that all our analysis is in one place. We show our recommendations and Key Actionable Outcomes, allowing decision makers to clearly evaluate what to implement and why.
The plethora of data within schools should be a gift that when collected, crunched and interrogated regularly and efficiently provides actionable insights rather than a feeling of drowning in the data.
Knowing what you’d like to do with your data is often clear. What is often not clear is having an overall picture of how it’s collected, stored, analysed and reported across the whole MAT. A Data Audit will help give you this picture.
Once it has all been identified and solutions implemented, we’ve seen cost efficiencies and class teachers, senior leaders and managers empowered to make informed decisions. If used intelligently, data can be an essential tool to raise the standards in schools.
Join our Webinar
Like to learn more? Andrew Martin will be running a FREE webinar ''Data – how to carry out a Data Audit', on Tuesday 31 March 2020 12.15-12.45. For further details, as well as how to sign up, click here.
Let us help you ...
Alternatively, if you would like further help and would like to speak directly to us, get in touch either by phone on 01962 832632 or by email on email@example.com. We’d be happy to provide guidance.