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Tailor your teaching with meaningful student data

Guest post by Sonia Sood

Given the choice of taking an exam with no assistance, or going in with supporting materials, which would you prefer? If you have helpful information available to you, it makes sense to use it. However, as soon as you call it ‘data’, people become much more wary.  

What do you think of when you see the word data? It almost always makes people think of a complex series of numbers or charts that don’t mean much unless you’re a statistician, and even then, it can feel tricky. Apprehension around the idea of data is understandable, given that you will often see a figure or percentage quoted without being provided with any idea of how it was calculated, or even what exactly it’s showing you. 

A classic example of this is when advertisements make a point of highlighting just how many people recommend their product, but when you read the fine print, they’re only using a really small sample population.  

Context is key in terms of understanding data and making it meaningful, as well as appreciating that data can be just about any sort of information, even a list of students on a course or unit. Use it effectively, and it’s just another tool to support you in planning your teaching. 

The Student Achievement Team develop reports designed to provide information presented clearly and in context. We can provide you with data on a range of course and unit specific subjects, from numbers of students enrolled on your course/unit to pass rates and assessment outcomes. We can also help you compare information with previous years to help you to identify any trends or areas of good practice. 

We believe that for analysis to be most useful, you first have to work out the information you need and then understand what it’s showing you. 

From class lists to course data reports, we aim to offer access to useful data that allows you to be proactive and helps you to develop a tailored approach to teaching and learning.  

We will be running data drop-in sessions in the run up to Christmas, so please look out for emails from us with details. The sessions will be completely informal and will give you a chance to ask any questions you may have about accessing information that could be useful to you. 

In the meantime, if you have any questions about this, please get in contact with us at student.achievement@solent.ac.uk. We look forward to hearing from you!