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Empowering India’s educators to make data-fuelled decisions

Empowering India’s educators to make data-fuelled decisions

ACER news 5 minute read

ACER is preparing to launch a world-leading data literacy programme specifically designed to support schools and educators in India. 

Data-driven decisions have a critical role in improving learning outcomes at all levels of education. Particularly, in school education, school leaders and teachers can use data to understand the needs of students and support them in their learning journey through the school years.

In 2018, Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) Chief Executive Professor Geoff Masters AO wrote, ‘The term ‘evidence-based' is now firmly entrenched in the education lexicon. And with good reason; improvements in student learning and educational outcomes depend on the wider use of reliable evidence in classroom practice.’ 

Improvement is possible only when the collected data is used efficiently for decision-making. For that to happen, educators need to develop a strong and deep understanding of data, in terms of identifying, organising, interpreting, and utilising data to support schools and students.

Dr Mee Young Han, Director of Research & Assessment for ACER India and a data expert with more than two decades of work experience in large-scale learning assessments and educational data, says, ‘Indian schools are immensely keen to use data to improve teaching practice and educational outcomes. Data-based decisions have particular significance in the present context where the learning crisis has been heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Unless our decisions are based on data, we might not be able to overcome the learning losses.’

To help schools address impending educational challenges, ACER India is launching a world-leading course − Data literacy for educators − in 2021. A research-informed programme specially designed for Indian school educators, it comprises of three modules delivered over a period of nine weeks in a live virtual mode.

Beginning from understanding the importance of data analysis in supporting pedagogy through to learning the basics of item response theory, this is an all-encompassing course open to all educators. The course will empower school leaders and teachers with skills that will help them to transform 21st century Indian school classrooms through the efficient use of data.

The final objective of the data literacy course is to ensure that educators are able to use what they have learnt in the workshops in their own schools and classrooms. For example, the course will provide an opportunity to learn how to meaningfully summarise test results using various measures of summary statistics such as location, spread and graphs/charts, and track trends of progress in every classroom as well as the entire school. Course participants will also learn how to standardise scores from different tests for a fair comparison between groups of students.

ACER introduced a number of online professional learning programmes in 2020 to support Indian school leaders and teachers. Participants of our previous programmes have appreciated the detailed approach of the workshops. Shilpi Vazirani Rayakar from Ecole Mondiale World School, Mumbai, after attending the workshop on online teaching said, ‘The ACER workshop explained the nitty-gritty of online teaching and also equipped us with tools to restructure or repurpose our lessons, create our own content, organise our lessons, and use various online educational repositories to make our lessons more creative and engaging. This really empowered me as a teacher, increased my productivity, and helped me become innovative − to excel in these challenging times.’

The course dates for the data literacy course will be soon available on our website. If you or your school is interested in participating in this programme, please contact us at:

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