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Why is data important in education?

Data collection helps educational institutions gain a deeper understanding of their prospective and current students. It can also provide some insight into educators and how effective their curricula are. In addition, data collection in education can help institutions learn more about how engaged their community is. 

Discover the importance of data collection, the advantages it provides educational institutions, and how to collect data using the right software in this article.

The importance of data collection in education

Why is data important in education? Educational institutions rely on data to help them make better decisions and provide the best outcomes for their students. The types of data these institutions may collect includes information about enrollment, such as the number of students enrolled, student demographics, and whether enrollment is trending up or down. 

Educational institutions also gather data on rates of course completion, student engagement, attendance, and graduation. The school may track teacher reviews, teacher feedback, and teacher retention rates.

Collecting data helps educational institutions improve outcomes for students. For example, if course completion rates are continuously falling, graduation rates may also begin to fall. The school can look at teacher reviews to see which teachers have lower course completion rates and provide them with coaching so they can better support their students.

“The type of data collected also depends on the type of institution, such as public, private, or higher ed,” says Hilary Morris, associate director of communications at Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart. 

“When it comes to private schools, for example, we are a business, so we have to think like a business for our marketing approaches. All of our prospecting and media buying decisions are based on data we collect.”

Key benefits of data collection in education

There are many advantages to data collection in education, for both students and teachers. These include

  • Better conversion: “We use a simple intake form to understand how families come to us,” says Morris. “Since we know that most families come to us from word of mouth, we can use this data to support our decision-making. We do surveys with families to learn what they’re interested in, which helps plan our marketing efforts.”
  • Higher student retention: “Every business knows that it’s more affordable to keep an existing customer happy than to look for new customers,” says Morris. “For our enrollment efforts, we do a Net Promoter Score survey through an online form to learn how our current families feel and whether there are any emerging trends we should address.”
  • Personalized instruction: Teachers may collect data about learning styles in their classes to better present material to their students. For example, lessons may be available in live lectures or in written format for those who absorb material better by reading.
  • Proactive approach: Institutions can spot roadblocks to success before they happen. For example, if teacher reviews are poor, it may affect student course completion rates or even graduation rates. By tracking certain metrics, schools can resolve issues before they snowball.
  • Clearer understanding of correlation: By tracking a number of different metrics through data collection in education, schools can begin to spot relationships between certain KPIs they may not have previously known about. This enables them to pivot in order to improve outcomes.
  • More transparency among stakeholders: When administrators of an institution are collecting data from students, teachers, parents, and other stakeholders, it’s important to share why they’re collecting the data. This openness and transparency helps stakeholders understand the efforts the educational institution is taking to improve student outcomes.
  • Longer-term relationships: “When a family leaves us, whether it’s because [the student] graduate[s] or move[s] or change[s] schools, we collect data to learn more about their interests now that their role with us has changed,” says Morris. “This information can help us with future planning efforts.”

The data-collection process with Jotform

One of the most effective ways for any educational institution, from primary schools to universities, to collect data is with Jotform. This intuitive software is both simple and easily customizable, so educational institutions can create secure forms, gather information from stakeholders, and gather insights from the data. 

From an administrative standpoint, Jotform is useful for scholarship applications, alumni donations, class registration, event registration, course evaluations, and many more types of applications. 

In the classroom, Jotform is the perfect solution for homework submission forms, online quizzes, extracurricular signup forms, student surveys, and more. The easy-to-use templates are fully customizable to each school’s needs, and the drag-and-drop builder is instinctive and simple.

“It all boils down to not shooting in the dark,” says Morris. “Whatever kind of data you’re collecting, it helps you make educated, strategic decisions for the school.” 

Now that you know why data is important in education — and how you can effectively gather data from students, teachers, and other stakeholders — it’s time to get started with Jotform.

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