News & events


Aligning Data for School Success

19 August 2014
10:30 - 11:30

Presenter: J.Douglas Willms Professor and Director, Canadian Research Institute for Social Policy,  University of New Brunswick (UNB)

Date:  Tuesday, 19 August     Time: 10:30  – 11:30

Venue:    13th floor boardroom, Pretoria

Large-scale national and international assessments provide countries and local jurisdictions with trailing indicators of student performance. These assessments are important as they enable administrators to establish standards, assess the extent of inequalities and inequities, inform educational policy, provide a framework for theoretical research, and enhance the credibility of the teaching profession.

However, educators also need leading indicators that inform school policy and instructional decisions and increase student motivation. For example, over 1,000,000 Canadian and Australian students have participated in a dynamic web-based evaluation called Tell Them From Me ( which allows students to voice their concerns and participate in school-wide evaluation in a non-threatening way.

Also, a number of schools are engaging in the Early Years Evaluation (, an assessment tool for children aged 3 to 6 which is being used to assess the emerging literacy skills of children before or shortly after they begin primary school. These evaluation systems provide front-line educators with immediate data they can use to identify students who need extra support, involve parents in meaningful ways, and guide school policy and practice to improve school climate.

In discussing the use of leading indicators, Professor Douglas Willms will argue that improving school performance and reducing inequalities will require strategic “capacity-based” reforms that involve altering some of the core structural features of schooling; describe the key “policy levers” that according to research will drive student outcomes; discuss the interplay between student engagement and academic success as students progress through school; and challenge conventional understandings of how schools are structured.

The seminar may be attended in Pretoria only

RSVP by 18 August
Pretoria: Arlene Grossberg (012) 302 2811,