Useful Applications of Data Science in the Education Sector

According to Hal Varian, the chief economist at Google and professor of information sciences, business, and economics at Berkeley, “The ability to take data – to be able to understand it, to process it, to extract value from it, to visualize it, to communicate it – that’s going to be a hugely important skill in the next decades.” In this digital age, from ordering lunch to booking a cab, listening to your favorite music,  or even getting a blood test done, much of the work gets done either in part or completely via the internet. The coronavirus lockdown also has contributed towards a more digitalized framework. This change can be acutely observed with an example of the education sector. Since the past two years, necessitated by the Covid-19 lockdown, the abrupt shutdown of educational institutions across the nation led to a complete tectonic shift of education from classrooms to online teaching through mobile teacher app.

All of our interactions and choices we make on the internet can be viewed as a data point and the assimilation of all user activity can be viewed as a digital fingerprint. Large organizations generally accumulate tons of user data that holds the key to a vast amount of information which is invaluable for the organizations like user behavior, demands, likes, dislikes, shopping behavior, and likewise. The individuals who process this large heap of raw data to extract useful information are experiences professionals known as data scientists or data analysts. This budding field of data science has also immensely useful applications for the education sector. By using the data available on students and members of staff, educational institutions could gain useful insights to further understand and develop their teaching methodologies and solve specific problems faced by them to improve the experience of students and educators. We shall now move on to discuss various promising ways in which educational institutions can collect and utilize data to reveal useful information through the use of data analytics….

Data from Student Assessment Tests-

Data of student performance on assessment tests are very valuable and often used by educators to ascertain the level of students’ understanding level of their subject. These data can be collected and utilized to generate a datasheet about students’ overall grasp and conceptual clarity over the subject. The data from assessment tests should be ideally used as an input for the teacher while deciding the future course of action, whether he needs to modify his teaching strategy or revisit the lesson or concept that students seem to be struggling with or even organize students into study groups specific to their skill levels so that they can solve doubts of each other in weak areas.

Data of Parents of Students-

It is important for parents to attend parent-teacher meetings (PTM’s) especially for students whose teachers really want to meet their parents regarding their class performance, to see if they can work together with them to help the student be successful. Even though nowadays parents are connected with teachers through Whatsapp groups and virtual parent-teacher conferences on live teaching app, yet some parents take it as a formality and tend to skip it. Data about parents’ attendance in PTMs could be analyzed to filter out information about students and their parents who didn’t show up at the PTM. One can look up information regarding similarities between such families who avoid PTM’s. Thereafter, class teachers could send targeted e-mails or texts to each family which is better serves the purpose of getting the point across than generic messages.

Records of Student Behavior-

Sometimes, when an incident of indiscipline occurs, schools need to take a decision regarding the same. The severity of the punishment increases if activities of indiscipline have occurred multiple times. A log of such incidents should be maintained and analyzing its data could provide valuable information and help in arriving at a decision regarding any incident at school. This could go a long way in effective and fair treatment of students while maintaining an environment of discipline in school.

These are only some of the numerous ways in which data analytics related to educational institutions could help in improving their overall efficiency of functioning and provide a better experience for students as well as staff members. Data Science has a great and largely untapped potential pertaining to the education sector.

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