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The Plural of Anecdote is Not Data: One School's Story of Developing a Data Dashboard
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The Plural of Anecdote is Not Data: One School's Story of Developing a Data Dashboard

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Have you ever wondered how you, your team, your school is doing? What counts as 'success' and how do you measure it? And how do you tell others about it. …

Have you ever wondered how you, your team, your school is doing? What counts as 'success' and how do you measure it? And how do you tell others about it.

We all have stories to tell that help us understand how well we are doing. Sometimes, though, anecdotal evidence is not enough. Prospective parents, members of our current community, members of our faculty and staff, our Board, sometimes want something 'harder' and more empirical.

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  • 1. The Plural of Anecdote is Not Data One school's story of developing a data dashboard ECIS Administators Conference 2009, Lisbon Kevin Bartlett and David Willows bartlettk@isb.be willowsd@isb.be
  • 2. Let’s get the conversation started… What are some of the biggest challenges you face when managing and using data?
  • 3. Facing up to where we were… • We collected data but did nothing with it • We weren’t sure what data was the most important • We weren’t sure how to report data • No one listened anyway • It (not surprisingly) did not lead to changes in behaviour
  • 4. Step 1 Ask the right questions How do we know if we are being successful in our mission of inclusion, challenge and success?
  • 5. … which quickly led us to asking a whole bunch of other questions: • How do we gauge the health of the organisation? • How do we learn from the past? • How do we make best use of management and Board meetings? • How do we know if we have met our goals? • Do we even have goals for all our strategic objectives? • Are they the right goals?
  • 6. Step 2 Collect with caution •Determine data that would answer key questions •Identify which data that you already have or can realistically get •Prioritize and organize until you have something manageable Finding simplicity in the complexity
  • 7. Step 3 Report strategically 2008/09 YTD Interviews vs. 3 yr Target 450 400 350 The School on 300 250 Interviews 200 One Page 150 100 50 0 Aug-08 Sep-08 Oct-08 Nov-08 Dec-08 Jan-09 Feb-09 Mar-09 Apr-09 May-09 Jun-09 Jul-09 Aug-08 Sep-08 Oct-08 Nov-08 Dec-08 Jan-09 Feb-09 Mar-09 Apr-09 May-09 Jun-09 Jul-09 25 55 83 110 YTD Interviews 29 48 70 96 111 142 179 228 268 329 389 412 3 yr avg - Aug 2008
  • 8. So what? Back to the bunch of questions • How do we gauge the health of the organisation? • How do we learn from the past? • How do we make best use of management and Board meetings? • How do we know if we have met our goals? • Do we even have goals for all our strategic objectives? • Are they the right goals?
  • 9. How do we gauge the health of the organisation? Defining ‘health’ from multiple perspectives. • Learning • Operations • Strategic projects • Demographics • Customer opinion
  • 10. How do we learn from the past? ISB operates on 26% turnover each year. The Board of Trustees changes at the same rate. Our ability to ‘forget’ in times of crisis is perhaps our biggest threat of all.
  • 11. How do we learn from the past? ISB operates on 26% turnover each year. The Board of Trustees changes at the same rate. Our ability to ‘forget’ in times of crisis is perhaps our biggest threat of all.
  • 12. How do we learn from the past? ISB operates on 26% turnover each year. The Board of Trustees changes at the same rate. Our ability to ‘forget’ in times of crisis is perhaps our biggest threat of all.
  • 13. 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 0 1951/1952 1952/1953 1953/1954 1954/1955 1955/1956 1956/1957 1957/1958 1958/1959 1959/1960 1960/1961 1961/1962 1962/1963 1963/1964 1964/1965 1965/1966 1966/1967 1967/1968 1968/1969 1969/1970 1970/1971 1971/1972 1972/1973 1973/1974 1974/1975 1975/1976 1976/1977 1977/1978 1978/1979 1979/1980 1980/1981 1981/1982 1982/1983 1983/1984 1984/1985 1985/1986 1986/1987 1987/1988 1988/1989 1989/1990 1990/1991 1991/1992 1992/1993 1993/1994 1994/1995 1995/1996 1996/1997 1997/1998 1998/1999 1999/2000 2000/2001 2001/2002 2002/2003 2003/2004 2004/2005 2005/2006 2006/2007 2007/2008 2008/2009 How do we learn from the past?
  • 14. 1000 1200 1400 1600 200 400 600 800 0 1951/1952 1952/1953 1953/1954 1954/1955 1955/1956 1956/1957 1957/1958 1958/1959 1959/1960 1960/1961 1961/1962 1962/1963 1963/1964 1964/1965 1965/1966 1966/1967 1967/1968 1968/1969 1969/1970 Crisis 1970/1971 1st Oil 1971/1972 1972/1973 1973/1974 1974/1975 1975/1976 1976/1977 1977/1978 1978/1979 1979/1980 Crisis 1980/1981 2nd Oil 1981/1982 1982/1983 1983/1984 1984/1985 1985/1986 1986/1987 1987/1988 1988/1989 War Gulf 1989/1990 1990/1991 1991/1992 1992/1993 1993/1994 1994/1995 1995/1996 1996/1997 1997/1998 9/11 1998/1999 1999/2000 2000/2001 2001/2002 2002/2003 2003/2004 2004/2005 2005/2006 2006/2007 2007/2008 2008/2009 How do we learn from the past?
  • 15. How do we learn from the past? • Despite a trend upwards, enrolment at ISB is ALWAYS cyclical • Periods of economic downturn have ALWAYS impacted enrolment at ISB • Typically the negative impact is felt over a 2-3 year period • The largest cumulative fall in enrolment was 1974-82: 22% • But remember that at this time the market was very different: >50% US prior to 1984, 24% today
  • 16. How do we make best use of management and Board meetings? Data is not just a product, but also influences process Board Meeting EXCOM Meeting Board Committees Heads and Directors
  • 17. How do we know if we have met our goals? We continue to answer this question. What do have noticed so far is: • better conversations • more target focused • more disciplined • one version of the ‘story’
  • 18. Discussion comments suggestions questions ideas