Quality Education Services (QES) had its beginnings in Mangere, South Auckland in the early 1980s. It is a Private Tertiary Establishment (PTE) providing free youth education (16 to 19 years) & employment training (18+ years). Their level one to three programmes prepare students for further tertiary education and employment. They now operate 11 programmes across 5 locations in South Auckland.
The managers at Quality Education Services were charged with finding the answers to the big questions. They wanted to know how individual students and classes were performing, were students passing enough credits each week to complete their courses by the end of their study and how the organisation was tracking to meet its performance objectives to satisfy their stakeholders and funders.
Quality Education Services had access to a large amount of data so they should have been able to answer all these questions about student performance. They had data in Take2 (their Student Management system), the Tertiary Education Commission’s Literacy and Numeracy tool, Attendance records, their CRM system and manual reports. But there was a problem – they relied on one person to extract and manipulate all this data in Excel, and he was about to leave.
Just figuring out how students were performing against their targets was very time consuming. The regular weekly analysis was only done to the level of the performance of the class as a whole. They weren’t getting the granular visibility they needed, their analysis only worked out class averages. So, it was difficult to identify struggling students. For example, there may have been really good weekly credits passed for a class of 15 students. But there may have been a few very high performing students skewing the results, masking the existence of underperforming students.
Smetric Insights Solutions
Smetric Insights worked with the Quality Education Services team to determine what questions they needed to answer to better manage student performance, what questions were the top priorities and what data was necessary to answer them.
The next step was to find out where the data was stored, how it was captured and what rules applied to it. Their information was then cleansed and stored in a data warehouse.
Smetric Insights then designed and built dashboards in Microsoft Power BI. These dashboards delivered information such as student attendance and student progress on passing credits. This information was available at the class level, and also down to the individual student level. With the dashboards being refreshed regularly, straight out of the data sources, they now have access to reliable, timely information.
See below for the range of reports:
Smetric Insights was able to set up different levels of access to information. Managers can see everything, while tutors can only see data on their own classes.
It was an iterative process as Quality Education Services and Smetric got to understand what data they had, where it was from and why they were measuring it. As new data was introduced, Smetric Insights validated the information with QES staff to ensure the integrity and accuracy of the data source. This process gave Quality Education Services a better understanding of its data and ensured the dashboards answered the important questions.
How Did Quality Education Services Benefit?
Using Smetric Insights to unlock the value hidden in their data has resulted in a number of benefits to QES. Apart from the considerable time saved from creating reports in error prone Excel spreadsheets, the information they need is now available right away, which means they can work more efficiently and effectively. The QES team found the dashboards easy to use once they understood how they worked and what the dashboards were saying to them.
Now there is much greater visibility and at a more granular level. Management can sit down with tutors and have discussions about what is currently happening, what action plans are in place, and if no plan is in place, direct them to do so. Underperforming students can then be targeted and meet individually with the tutor, whanau and/or referral agency.
Soon they will be able have all of a student’s information on one dashboard page. They will be able to show these at parent/teacher interviews, with reports showing current progress and tracking their rate of completing credits to see if they are where they need to be.
Not only will this save the tutors time in preparation of reports, but the reports are in a format which enables some good discussions. Management and tutors now have better conversations and more time to do more valuable tasks such as taking actions to improve tutor and student performance. It is now also easier to report to the Board each month.
Summary and the Future
Quality Education Services think that now they are comfortable with and seeing the benefits of Business Intelligence, there is the opportunity to extend its use into doing better reporting and forecasting on their financials, their database of prospective students and Google Analytics.
The information and insights they get is leading edge in the PTE sector and they have done it without having their own IT team.
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