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Thoughtstarter: Using Data to Optimise Student Experiences [Please Build on This]

Using student data to connect students to recent graduates and alumni with similar test scores and recommend resources for self-improvement

Photo of Kate Rushton

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Based on their test scores, a student could be linked to recent graduates and other alumni with similar scores with the option to find out about their post-graduation history like Whatchado

The students’ test scores could be used to offer advice to improve their learning or identify key strengths which they could enhance using booster classes.

There could be an option for students to receive bespoke recommendations MOOCs to take to boost their understanding of the subject material, courses from other institutions that may teach the same material in a different way or work experiences or internships that could be particularly beneficial. 

This could be used for higher education students and high school students (choosing University courses). 

Are there other uses for test scores and other student data?

What other student data could be used to enhance the student experience and better prepare them for the real world?

Who is your idea designed for and how does it reimagine higher education to support the needs of tomorrow?

This idea is designed for current students and high school students choosing colleges. It helps students think more about their educational journey and the options available to them post-graduation based on alumni and any additional non-traditional learning courses, internships and work experience options they could take to plug learning gaps and enhance their knowledge.

This idea emerged from:

  • An individual

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

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What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

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Tell us about your work experience:

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18 comments

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Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi Kate. I like the idea of using data in some way to help students create improved learning experiences, or to identify career pathways. Something interesting to think about.
To clarify, what test scores are you referring to? Are you referring to individual course grades, or a score for their entire year, or entire university transcript - the average over time?

One thing that might be important overall is for students to examine their own scores with a broader perspective. Maybe using data to help in discovering one's passion might be useful? Maybe students can learn something about themselves they didn't see before? Sometimes course grades may reflect lack of effort, rather than lack of ability I think. Perhaps this is because one might be less engaged in the topic than one had hoped to be, and they might excel in another class due to an unrealized passion for the subject, one they might not have considered in anyway as something that might lead to work and career?

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Bettina!

I hope you are having a good start to the new year.

I was thinking of individual course grades. So, if a student scored poorly on one module they could receive links to MOOCs etc. to enhance their knowledge if they have to redo an exam etc. or to improve their knowledge for any upcoming courses. Basically, they could learn the material in a different way.

Their pattern of scores could be linked to alumni to give them information on what the alumni did post-graduation as a stepping stone. They would also get wider information on their options and a chance to check in with a careers advisor.

I am wondering how student data could be used more widely and for other purposes. I wonder if there is data relevant to a students' well-being or if data on higher education is often compared to high school for example If a student did exceptionally well in physics in high school and was under performing at University but not at risk of failing, is this noticed?`

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

These are interesting ideas Kate. Maybe data could be used to analyze one's choices of courses and compare that to alumni who had similar choices, to see what jobs they are in, or have been in? I am thinking about liberal arts education, as that is what I am most familiar with on the undergraduate level. One majors in one thing but takes many other classes. Can that help a student find different career pathways?

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

That is what I have been wondering! I also know a lot of graduates that studied one thing then did various conversion courses afterwards e.g. a liberal arts education then a boot camp course in coding. It would be so interesting to 'track' people's career choices after graduation.

Photo of Teo John
Team

Dear Kate & Bettina ,

I wonder whether we could identify some crucial factors that have significant impact on learners' progress and performance;maybe looking into the available dataset in Universities in each state in United States. Maybe from there we could gain some important insights and explore some actionable measures to improve the situation in each state.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi. Support in the form of tutoring and mentoring is crucial for some students, particularly 1st generation students. See the Atantic article I linked in my comment below.

Through what means do you see actions being taken in each state?

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Kate Rushton 
Hi all.
There is an article in today's New York Times about the growing use of big DATA within the higher ed community. There are a variety of unique and creative projects being developed by individual universities. Really interesting! Not sure if any of the projects in refinement might benefit. Sharing for general interest here.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/02/education/edlife/will-you-graduate-ask-big-data.html?

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Thank you Bettina! This is super helpful and it is a really interesting article and it might be useful for Sidekick Learning because it identifies the Universities that are using student data to predict success and therefore might be more receptive to other higher ed data solutions.

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