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How do I use engagement data to drive student success?

Data around student engagement is critical for informing how and what teachers teach—are learning activities popular? Are they leading to good scores on assessments? How well are students doing on tests? Is the pedagogical approach working? Where are students succeeding or failing most? In what ways are they connecting with other students?

Gauge student performance

Teachers can also use engagement data to identify how well an individual student’s performing, using specific thresholds, like grades for instance, to determine if they’re doing well and should be sent a note from the instructor acknowledging their success, or if they’re slipping and need the instructor to intervene.

Start with a goal

Whichever way the data’s used, data-informed decision-making is most effective if instructors have laid out a goal even before they’ve started collecting data. If they want students to succeed and to reach every learner (and what instructor doesn’t?), they need to define what that looks like, both to themselves and the institution. Starting off with that understanding and a clear goal will help them to determine what they’re going to measure to assess engagement and how they should act on the data they accumulate.

Create teachable moments

When that decision is made, the data they gather then becomes the point at which they can begin to address whether they need to adjust their pedagogical approach, or intervene with an individual student and what that intervention will look like. Data should be used to create teachable moments both for the student and the teacher.

Focus on feedback

At the end of the day, it comes down to feedback—students crave it and they want it quickly. The more teachers delay, the more students panic and the more their performance is affected. If students can get feedback quickly they can improve more quickly, and if used effectively, student data can offer up an extremely detailed perspective on whether students are performing up to standard. Actively gathering and analyzing it makes instructors that much nimbler.

Here’s how Oral Roberts University is using data to provide better insights into student engagement and performance:

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