Faster Data Collection Benefits Teacher Education

Knowing the current state of teacher preparedness is important to making plans for future instruction. That is why a new data-collection system introduced in Rwanda has implications for school systems all over Africa.

TeachBeyond member Joel Olsen recently saw the successful implementation of a data-gathering and reporting system that speeds up the feedback from training sessions so improvements can be made in future sessions. Joel is an education advisor to Wellspring Foundation for Education and technical consultant to Wellspring Academy, Kigali, Rwanda.

He recently conducted a two-day workshop in Rubavu, in Rwanda’s Western Province, on the use of the project that he has been spearheading for the Wellspring Foundation. The project is coined MERIT for the Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting with Integrated Technologies program. The purpose is to increase efficiency and accuracy in field data collection and reporting of school leader, teacher, and parent training.

With MERIT, Wellspring trainers collect data on tablets, submit it to a server in Kigali, and within a matter of minutes reports can be completed and viewed at Wellspring Foundation offices in Kigali and Langley, British Colombia. They can do this even from a school that is a couple hours hike from any semblance of roads. Collecting data and creating visual graphs showing growth at a school used to take two weeks to complete, but now with MERIT a graph can be produced in only two seconds! Also, trainer comments that tell a fuller story of a school’s progress create a rich picture and a final PDF report in minutes.

“When I did the ‘reveal’ in my workshop, the jaws of many of my teammates dropped open and there was some cheering and celebrating,” Joel says. “Overall, MERIT will allow a faster feedback loop to improve upon training, and provide an accurate, rich picture of a school’s growth, progress, and success with our school-development program.”