MS2012-10: Measuring educational quality in secondary education

posted Oct 3, 2012, 3:48 AM by Marco Spruit   [ updated Dec 13, 2012, 11:18 AM ]
In secondary schools throughout the Netherlands a lot of questions arise on how to measure and manage the quality of education within these schools. The main problem with answering these questions is that no generally accepted definitions exist for measuring the quality of education. Since teaching is the core business of schools, this is quite an important problem for school management. 
The only available objective measurement is the yearly performance assessment (opbrengstenoordeel) from the Dutch Inspectorate of Education (onderwijsinspectie). This is a high level, statistical assessment of student progress and results, but it lacks specific and useful information for the school management. Another problem is the type of data that is used to assess the school’s performance. The results from this assessment deal only with divisions as a whole and are lacking detailed information. The data used in this assessment is comprised of pass rates and exam results, all of which is only available on a yearly basis.
To manage a school on a day-to-day basis, more detailed and more frequent reports on the educational quality are needed. Some companies are starting to develop solutions that attempt to enable school management to measure and control the quality of education. Without well-founded, generally accepted definitions however, the success of such solutions is doubtful at best.


In this assignment the following questions have to be answered:
  1. Which definitions are available for measuring educational quality (both theoretical as well as practical)?
  2. How can these definitions be operationalized to generate objective management information (KPI’s)?
  3. Which data, necessary to measure the defined KPI’s, is currently available? 
  4. How can the defined KPI’s be integrated in the company's BI platform?
Since there are no existing frameworks to use as a starting point, this assignment will have to start from a theoretical basis. For this project to be successful however, support from a broad mix of stakeholders is necessary. Examples of these stakeholders are the Dutch Inspectorate of Education, school boards, school management teams and the teachers. Attaining practical input from these stakeholders is key to realize
the necessary support. To answer the question about integrating the KPI’s in the company's BI platform, at least a Functional and Technical Design is required. We have a preference for a working prototype which can be tested in a real working situation.

Note: some possible scientific contributions might be related to (1) integrating unstructured/social media data (LEBI framework?), (2) heterogeneous data source management / semantic interoperability, (3) stakeholder requirements analysis, (4) situational factors in SchoolBI, etc .