Using Data to Help Learners Succeed with South Africa’s Curriculum

In this blog series, we will discuss the importance of the use of data in South Africa’s education system – why it matters to parents, learners, and educators, and how providing educators with the information they need can help learners excel. In this post, we explore how data access is assisting curriculum officials. Click here to read all the blogs in this series.

Nishana Parsad needs quick, seamless access to teaching, learning, and assessment data for her province’s nearly 3,100 schools. As Chief Education Specialist for Curriculum in Gauteng, Ms. Parsad uses this data to develop corresponding insights that showcase how each school in her province is mastering the learning outcomes set by the South African Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements, or CAPS. With many schools and school subjects to evaluate, this role was a challenge until the province had access to the Data Driven Districts (DDD) Dashboard – an online dashboard that visualizes and analyses curriculum data.

Now, the DDD Dashboard provides opportunities for Ms. Parsad and her colleagues to see data across subjects, schools, and learner cohorts in one easy-to-access experience. With the curriculum data from the DDD Dashboard, the province can now profile subjects according to performance, rank schools accordingly, and profile educators that may require additional support to deliver the curriculum successfully. In additional to providing ample insights, the Dashboard also saves Ms. Parsad time, as she now has meaningful data in accessible visual displays and reports to drive discussions during ongoing presentations she gives on school data.

The data on the Dashboard is not only relevant to curriculum officials at a provincial level, but is useful at the school level where teachers are actively implementing the set curriculum. Ms. Nkosi, principal of a rural school in Mpumalanga Province, uses the DDD Dashboard and its various reports to conduct more impactful meetings with her educators. In these meetings, the educators account for their learners’ results, but they also use the Dashboard to analyse the attendance of the learners and discuss how that might have affected their learning outcomes.

One Dashboard report that Ms. Nkosi frequently utilises is the Learner Intervention Planning Report. This report highlights both classes and individual learners most in need of intervention based on their predicted probability of passing the year. Ms. Nkosi uses the report to motivate her teachers and to strategize with them on how to ensure learners are promoted to the next grade. The report also goes one step further by providing the type of intervention that is needed – immediate, light, or monitor – to steer learners toward success.

For Ms. Parsad and Ms. Nkosi, having access to data insights and reports on the DDD Dashboard has empowered them to identify areas that require improvement and have constructive data-driven conversations to action interventions. With this focused support, learners across South Africa are given the best chance to acquire the CAPS curriculum knowledge and skills.