Red, amber, green: Learning analytics. Week 9 Synthesis

Is there any benefit to rating students’ success?

I started this week still stuck on how algorithms worked and how they might be seen to influence education. Which lead me to send my first tweet out about asking whether database results could shape research. I tweeted my question and it was in this vein of thought I went looking for any academic papers that could support what I suspected. There were a lot about  bias but I found an example which I saved on Diigo. This article focused on some of the issues around systematic reviews with regards to database searches. It prompted my thinking on how research could be adversely affected by search results but more importantly highlighted the human element of how important information literacy is for scholarly processes.

It was only during the tweetathon I finally felt like I had joined the party with regards to how data and learning analytics play a role in shaping education, but it was quite difficult making sense of what was going on. I felt I was more active than I demonstrated.

I pinned a graphic from Pinterest promising that data mining and learning analytics enhance education which was reminiscent of the instrumentalism around discourse (Bayne 2014) in Block 1.

The TED talk presented how big data can be used to build better schools and transform education by showing governments where to spend their money in education. It made me realise that, when looked at quite broadly, data can revolutionise education.

Finally I reflected on the traffic light systems that track and rate students, something I’d like to explore further. Ironically, on the first day of week ten, while I was playing catch up in Week 9, I attended some staff training on Learning Analytics, ‘Utilizing Moodle logs and recorded interactions’, where I was shown how to analyse quantitative data to monitor students’ use and engagement.


Bayne, S. (2014). What’s the matter with ‘Technology Enhanced Learning’? Learning, Media and Technology, 40(1): pp5-20.

Liked on YouTube: Andreas Schleicher: Use data to build better schools

Andreas Schleicher: Use data to build better schools
How can we measure what makes a school system work? Andreas Schleicher walks us through the PISA test, a global measurement that ranks countries against one another — then uses that same data to help schools improve. Watch to find out where your country stacks up, and learn the single factor that makes some systems outperform others.

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via YouTube https://youtu.be/7Xmr87nsl74

This was an interesting video and demonstrated what the implications of using data in a global context can be. Schleicher explains how ‘big data’ can be used to help improve education. He explains that in education, how money is spent impact student outcomes rather that how much money is spent. He claims that schools and countries do not need to compromise on equity to achieve excellence. One thing I did note was that none of his research concentrated on any African countries. I wonder if the outcomes would have been different if he had.

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