Is your school collecting too much pupil data?

Date: 06.11.2018

According to the findings of Making data work - Report of the Teacher Workload Advisory Group, schools need to review whether or not they are collecting too much pupil data, and whether they are making good use of the data they do collect. Leaving aside the irony of the report's recommendations that schools see if they are doing too much, er, by collecting more data via an audit, it does give four key pointers that senior leaders would do well to review.

Working hours in England are significantly higher than other countries (TALIS 2013) and the Teacher Workload Survey 2016 shows that teachers still work long hours. Workload is consistently cited as one of the most important factors for teachers who are leaving the profession. The Workload Challenge (2014) identified unnecessary tasks linked to assessment and data with 56% of respondents citing tasks around ‘recording, inputting, monitoring and analysing data’ as burdensome, and noted a range of drivers for this.

Key review principles, which build on the findings of the independent report on data management:

  • The purpose and use of data is clear, is relevant to the intended audience and is in line with school values and aims.
  • The precision and limitations of data, and what can be inferred from it, are well understood.
  • The amount of data collected and the frequency with which it is collected is proportionate.
  • School leaders review processes for both collecting data and for making use of the data once gathered.