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APT and DC Prep Release Key Findings of Education Data Analysis Partnership

January 13 2014 | Press Release

Applied Predictive Technologies (APT), the world’s largest purely cloud-based predictive analytics software company, and DC Prep, the highest-performing network of public charter schools in Washington, D.C., announced the results of a recent joint education data analysis partnership. Through the partnership, the company analyzed the preliminary effectiveness of various initiatives for DC Prep and built a software application for school administrators to use in managing its existing teacher observation program.

APT’s software solutions are revolutionizing the way leading organizations make decisions, by harnessing their Big Data to accurately measure the impact of various strategic and tactical initiatives. DC Prep currently serves 1,200 students from preschool to 8th grade at four campuses in Wards 5 and 7 of the nation’s capital. The partnership between APT and DC Prep led to various interesting analytical insights.

Quality, Not Quantity: Best Practices for Student Software Usage

As DC Prep increasingly turns to technology to address campus- and classroom-based needs to complement its rigorous academic model, APT analyzed student usage of two software programs DC Prep has just begun to use, Raz Kids and Typing Club. Raz Kids is designed to improve reading comprehension by allowing students to listen and read along to books, and Typing Club helps students learn to type more effectively. Initial findings include:

Impact of Raz Kids

• First and second graders experienced the greatest gains in reading growth when practicing with the Raz Kids software; further, students who listened to a greater number of different books (as opposed to re-listening to the same books) had greater growth in reading.

• Second graders who diligently followed the learning path set forth in Raz Kids (consisting of a sequenced process of listening to the book and reading it independently, before taking the quiz) experienced the largest gains in reading growth.

Impact of Typing Club

• APT found that students used the Typing Club software in two distinct styles: some students tried to advance through levels as quickly as possible, while others tried to achieve the highest score possible on a level before progressing.

• The analysis showed that students who re-tried the same levels to achieve a higher score were more likely to reach mastery of typing skills.

APT recommended that teachers encourage students to consistently practice with the software, go back and re-try levels to achieve the highest possible score, and follow the recommended flow of the software (e.g., take quizzes at the end of each level). APT also recommended a new method of measuring words-per-minute to more accurately track student performance.

Demystifying Teaching Excellence

APT also analyzed DC Prep’s existing teacher talent observation program, which includes rubrics that characterize teacher classroom culture, instruction, and planning, and determined which criteria appeared to be correlated with better student growth. The major takeaway from the teacher evaluation analysis was APT’s recommendation that DC Prep use this type of analysis over time to prioritize teacher training in the appropriate areas for each grade level. The correlated factors can also be combined into a model to identify potentially at-risk classrooms, allowing DC Prep to proactively provide resources.

Teacher Observations Made Easy

Finally, APT’s engineering team built an application for DC Prep to use in effectively leveraging the teacher observation data that it collects through its existing teacher observation program. As part of its model, DC Prep recruits and retains an elite group of highly-qualified teachers, cultivating and tracking their professional development and growth from within. The APT application helps DC Prep implement streamlined analysis systems to track which teachers are due for an observation, aggregate evaluation scores by school, analyze observation criterion, etc. The application also tracks teacher scores over time and can benchmark a teacher’s scores against the “Teacher Index” to show how each faculty member is performing relative to other teachers at DC Prep.

The analysis and teacher observation program application were presented by teams of APT employees and received much enthusiasm from DC Prep administrators, including DC Prep Founder and CEO Emily Lawson.

“APT is pioneering analytics that have created enormous value for various organizations,” said Emily Lawson, DC Prep Founder and CEO. “Educators, especially Charter Management Organizations like DC Prep, need to start embracing advanced analytics to help understand which programs work, which don’t, and which ones can be changed to improve teacher and student outcomes. APT is the right company for DC Prep to partner with to understand how to maximize the impact of our efforts. We are excited to benefit from APT’s experience and software to refine our internal processes and make them more effective.”

Anthony Bruce, CEO of APT, commented, “We are honored to have had the opportunity to work with a group of such innovative and motivated educators. DC Prep is leading the way in education, and we hope that APT’s analysis helps them improve the effectiveness of new ideas and tailor programs to enable students to achieve their highest potential.”

To download the full press release, click here.


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