New York City has the largest school system in the United States, with over 1.1 million students enrolled. Teachers collect tons of data every single day (reading levels, math performance, language acquisition, attendance, parent communication, who receives free breakfast and where students go after school are just a few). New York City and its teachers are hindered by a lack of systems. Teachers find themselves inputting all of this data into several different recording tools like google sheets, city websites, state websites and good old fashioned paper forms. It’s hard to keep track of where the data is, and nearly impossible to extract valuable information and trends from a slew of systems that do not interact with each other. Technology in education should be thriving to aid teachers and schools in reporting, analyzing, and finding innovative solutions to problems that plague our schools. The expectations required of teachers are simply not reflected in the technology with which they are provided.
Let us review the tough job a particular teachers has. The teacher, Ms. SasSy, administers monthly literacy assessments to her students and needs to track all of her findings. What is tracked needs to be delivered to parents and will be used by her and her colleagues to adjust the curriculum to meet the wide range of needs in her class. In addition, what is logged is reported to the Department of Education for city-wide program adjustments. As the teacher evaluates these assessments, she jots down the results on a paper checklist. Then, at home, the teacher transcribes the findings into an excel or google sheet document in order to have an electronic copy. Later in the month, she must input this data into a separate website that tracks reading progress. This data is isolated from other valuable data (math scores, attendance, etc). Ms. SasSy is frustrated. Inputting and re-inputting the same data over and over again is an inefficient use of her time. Whenever this teacher wants to look across various sources of student data, or analyze the classroom data as whole, it is a messy and time-consuming process.
As a Salesforce architect, I find that many businesses have this issue as well. These are all the signs of processes that need a robust Salesforce solution. Salesforce is a very capable system that allows for tracking of all of these data points, collaboration amongst teachers and students and provides visibility to teachers, parents and principals.
Our teachers deserve better. Our students deserve better. Salesforce and Salesforce Wave Analytics can be a solution. Imagine if our teacher had this dashboard to look at.
This blog originally appeared on SF for You, a blog by Silverline Technical Architect Gean Martinez.