Tagged: W21A4

Week 21 – Activity 4: National concerns about education

Timing: 2 hours

Part 1

  • Read the bullet-pointed list in the section titled ‘A New Era’ at the start of:

    The list identifies some concerns that western nations or, more specifically, the USA were dealing with in 2007.

Extracts: Western nations are looking over their shoulders at China and India.
Economies depend on a well-educated population
Minorities are an increasing percentage of the population, as well as of the college-going population
Just being able to hold a job may not be enough
If the current educational gaps remain, U.S. per capita income is projected to decline 2 percent from 2000 to 2020

  • Now look at the first five pages of:

    Both these papers were written before the emergence of learning analytics as a field and so they provide early definitions of related terms.

  • Consider the reasons for the use of learning analytics that are given in these papers, and reflect on them in relation to the recommendations you and others made in Activity 3 and the problems that you thought learning analytics might be able to address. Make a note in your learning journal or blog.

Notes to answer the above:

  • They are also about using analytics to guide and enable aggressive, proactive reimagining of academic and administrative practices.
  • take form in wise judgments, decisions, choices, interventions, and fresh visions;
  • shape, enhance, and refine policies, processes, procedures, practices, and, ultimately, performance;
  • express themselves through innovations whose successes can be scaled across entire educational and workplace enterprises;
  • continuously improve value and performance in education, training and workforce development; and 
  • make the route to improved performance transparent to stakeholders, including learners and their families.
  • Improving the performance of education and workforce development in ways that are financially sustainable is critical to America’s continued global competitiveness (esp. in relation to America’s declining education standing – reading 1 above)
  • Analytics should be available to everyone from top decision makers to front-line knowledge workers, faculty, advisors, and even students, as determined by authenticated roles and levels of authorization
  • As a possibility, allow for the capacity of international analytics to enable benchmarking, comparison, collaboration, and innovation across global learning and workforce enterprises and agencies
  • Higher education leaders must evolve from William Bowen’s famous characterization of university leadership that “raises all the money it can, and spends all the money it raises,” to a more refined perspective that “optimizes value in an environment of resource scarcity.”
  • Can assist in ongoing study while working. As maximising output and performance is key when time is limited and course completion is not possible in the same way.
  • Benefits leading into MOOCs and other online courses.
  • A means to analysis the data received from various education projects (i.e.Online courseware initiative; Financial aid increases; Funding for community colleges; Goals to increase college-going; Stimulus funding for states and for colleges and universities.)
  • Action analytics will support aggressive institutional efforts to find efficiencies, innovations, and transformations so they can rediscover post-recession financial sustainability


To gain a different perspective, next you will look at the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) that provides a set of international comparisons of student attainment. Specifically, the three-yearly PISA studies assess the extent to which 15-year-olds in 65 countries have acquired key knowledge and skills.

Part 2


Imagine you are a politician with responsibility for education in your country (or a near neighbour if no PISA results can be accessed for your country). You are thinking of making improvements to your country’s education system but before doing so you want to compare your country’s educational performance with that of a near neighbour.

  • Take a look at PISA’s headline results (OECD, 2012) for your chosen country, and compare them with those of another country. You can do this by selecting your chosen countries from the list and then clicking through to the PISA 2012 results overview.
  • As you read these headline figures, note the areas that worry you and the areas you want to highlight. You can check or extend your list by searching for news stories that provide examples of how the PISA results were reported locally. These two stories give a flavour of how the results were interpreted in the UK and in Norway:
  • When you have completed your list, consider each of your areas of concern in turn and note whether learning analytics could potentially address this issue and, if so, how this might be done.
  • Share your thoughts with others on the discussion forum.


Findings for improvement for Japan:

  • performance differences between advantaged and disadvantaged schools have widened since 2003
  • Students in Japan generally feel less confident about their ability to solve a set of pure and applied mathematics problems than the average student across OECD countries
  • students reported less pleasure and interest in learning mathematics