Using data to support learning continuityFeature 25 Jan 2022 5 minute read
The pandemic school closures which began in March 2020 in India disrupted the academic growth of millions of learners. Since then, schools have been operating in a hybrid model in tune with the rise and fall of the COVID wave. In this story, we talk to Saba Husain to understand how her school is using data to support the continuation of education during the pandemic.
Saba Husain is the Headmistress of City Montessori School Gomtinagar Campus 1 in Lucknow. The school has 6790 students and 261 staff members.
A teacher since 1984, Ms Husain has taught at all levels from Nursery to Senior Secondary across different cities in India and been lauded with many awards and accolades for her exceptional contribution to the field of education.
Talking about school closures, Ms Husain said, ‘With the sudden announcement of a complete lockdown, the biggest challenge for parents and teachers across all sections of the society was the continuation of education. Physical schools became out of bounds and virtual ones had to be opened. However, none of us were prepared.
‘The unravelling of the world of educational technology came with the realisation that we can make the most of both time and effort by switching to the online mode for interactions that are best possible there. Although, the virtual world cannot and should not replace the real world of a student-teacher connect ─ we can all undoubtedly agree that the online mode has its own benefits and we will always have it as an effective Plan B.’
One such benefit has been the development of the IBT-On-Demand version of the International Benchmark Tests. Unlike the IBT Mains, which is conducted once a year, IBT-on-Demand allows schools to measure student learning progress at a time of their choosing.
All 18 campuses of the City Montessori School will conduct IBT-on-Demand for obtaining diagnostic data on student learning.
Ms Husain’s campus has selected the IBT-On-Demand English and mathematics online assessment to obtain diagnostic data that helps teachers understand where students are performing well and areas that require further support. This enables the school to use the IBT data to support improvements in the learning of every child immediately due to its instant reporting system.
Ms Husain highlighted that at a point when time is of the essence, data helped to make many decisions related to professional learning, teacher-parent collaboration, and assessments as schools vacillate between online and physical classrooms.
One of the first steps was to identify teachers who are confident with using technology and those who need hand-holding. Young teachers were ready to switch over to online teaching whereas teachers with years of experience and following a defined pedagogy found this extremely difficult. Data was collected on the degree of training required by various groups of teachers to plan their professional learning courses.
Collaboration with parents
The next challenge was to select a teaching platform that parents, students, and teachers favour. Besides, the duration for online classes had to be decided. Coming to a common decision was not easy and had to be backed by data. Once remote learning was up and running, attendance data helped to identify learners missing online classes so that it could be communicated to parents in virtual meetings.
Finally, it was time to assess students. Initially, assessments were rolled out using Google forms but soon many parents started interfering in such tests. Teachers had to change strategies continuously to make assessments more authentic. Feedback forms and exit tickets at the end of each session helped ensure clear communication between learners and teachers. Along with modified classroom-based assessments and summative examinations, IBT-on-Demand assessment will be used to design individualised learning plans for every learner.
To find out more about IBT-on-Demand, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org