Business Breakthroughs

The Case for Data in Education: A June Reflection

Lana’s CEO, Tina Neville, develops a strong case for data and its importance in education as the school year wraps up.

June is the perfect time to reflect on the academic year and plan for the future. My favorite subject in school was math because of its clarity. In math, 1+1 always equals 2, and 2+2 always equals 4. Numbers provide a clear and powerful way to inform decision-making and improve educational outcomes. Clarity is crucial, especially when educational results can often be vague and uncertain. This month’s news blog centers on the case for data.

Clarity in Data

Data provides clear, objective insights into our performance. It highlights our efforts, successes, and areas for improvement. By understanding the information, we can make better decisions and allocate resources more effectively. This clarity is crucial for schools and government organizations aiming to maximize their impact.

Real-World Examples

  • Student Performance: Imagine a school struggling to improve its students’ math performance. Initially, they might try a one-size-fits-all solution, hoping for the best. But with data, they can identify specific students who need help, understand their unique challenges, and provide targeted interventions. This is exactly what we do at Lana for English learners. We assess their proficiency levels and match them with suitable curricula to meet them where they are. This targeted approach improves their English levels more effectively, demonstrating the tangible value of data.
  • Resource Allocation: Consider resource allocation. A school district, faced with limited funds, must decide how to distribute resources. With data, they can pinpoint which schools need more funding for technology based on usage and outcomes. At Lana Learn, we track how much time is spent on various activities to balance student-facing work and prep work. For example, our team tracks additional 1:1 time with students, and this information on time allocation, alongside progress, supports the value of high-impact tutoring.
  • Program Evaluation: Think about program evaluation. Without information, it’s challenging to know if an after-school program is making a difference. But with data, we can see trends and measure impact. At Lana, we’ve seen increased consistent student attendance in one of our after-school programs. This insight has led us to plan for its expansion, confident that we are investing in what works.

Where Data Fails

While data is a powerful tool, it’s not infallible. It can be misinterpreted or incomplete, leading to poor decisions. For example, relying solely on test scores without considering socio-economic factors can result in misleading conclusions. Therefore, it’s essential to use data as one of several tools in decision-making, always considering the broader context.

Lana’s Way Forward

At Lana, we value clear goals and objectives. As a result, we will continue to:

Collect Comprehensive Data: Gather information from multiple sources to provide a complete picture.

Analyze Thoughtfully: Look beyond the numbers to understand the underlying causes and contexts.

Act on Insights: Use data to inform decisions and continuously improve strategies.
By valuing and being guided by data, we can make more informed decisions that lead to better educational outcomes. We’ve used this June to review our data, understand our progress, and plan for successful programs ahead.

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