Collecting, measuring and analyzing data at the learner, school, district or provincial level is tough, to say the least. The majority of learner level data in across South African schools is housed in the SA-SAMS school information management system, which is owned by the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and provided to schools at no cost. However, extracting and consolidating this data at the provincial, district, and circuit levels has historically proven to be very challenging.
Educational data—when put to use correctly—can dramatically improve learner outcomes. In 2012, we partnered with the DBE to launch the Data Driven Districts (DDD) initiative to improve the way education data is collected and used to help learners succeed.
The DDD initiative developed an easy-to-use dashboard that allows education officials to visualize SA-SAMS data immediately and graphically. A validation toolset was also introduced to measure and improve data submission quality. The combination of high quality submission controls, immediate feedback, and measured and reported data scores has given administrators renewed ownership of their education data.
With newly available data comes new insights, as users are changing the way they understand and apply the information. From principals to provincial officials to those at the national level, the DDD dashboard is providing meaningful insights to improve learner outcomes. So far, the DDD project has collected data from over 17,000 schools and more than nine million learners each school term, with over 5,000 of these schools submitting updated data on a weekly basis. This is a strong start to reaching all of the country’s 12 million learners.