How to extract meaning out of data?

Experiences from the QUALTRICS INSIGHT SUMMIT and our own democratic QUEEP..

Dr. Yael Steimberg, Manager of IDE’s Evaluation Department, and Orna Chayat, developer and senior assessor in the department, flew this month to a most unusual international experience, and came back enlightened…

Have you ever wondered about that wonderful moment when insight is born? Is that moment a matter of chance or can it be created? When and how does personal and organizational INSIGHT occur?

The moment of spark

INSIGHT is that ‘something’ that is born out of the combination of several concurrent processes: asking “why?”, collecting and examining data through the lens of accumulated experience, and using intuition.

Systematic integration of these components creates the enlightenment that leads to personal and organizational growth. While the organizational world makes extensive use of data for surveillance and decision making, in education, the consistent use of data is less common.

INSIGHT – you won’t find it here!

Data is collection at school, but mostly by external bodies. The school generally does not use data or rely on them for decision making. Most decisions made by the school are based on asking why and conducting an observation with accumulated experience and intuition, but without the data.

Schools and social organizations are usually not required to perform assessment as part of their professionalization and development processes. They require a great deal of assessment of the students and of teachers as workers, but usually these organizations lack the resources of time, money and appropriate personnel to conduct any assessment of the organization itself.

QUEEP makes INSIGHT accessible

Due to a lot of fieldwork and assessment processes that we created for IDE projects, and due to the implementation of our progressive pedagogy and processes of school change over the years, we began to develop the QUEEP system. This is, in fact, a large library of questionnaires for students, teachers and principals, in Hebrew and Arabic.

Leaders of educational change can enter the system, construct a questionnaire independently, and receive from us, a week later, a presentation of thought-provoking findings that will spur them into action.

The system we developed allows schools, social organizations and businesses to use the data in order to achieve “enlightenment” or make decisions easily, simply and professionally.

Visiting the QUALTRICS’ conference

In order to improve our abilities in this area, we flew to the QUALTRICS’ conference in Utah, U.S.A. QUALTRICS is the largest company in the world today that develops online questionnaires. It works with very large companies in the U.S. (like ten different airlines, Airbnb, gigantic food retailers, Volkswagen, etc.) and with distinguished universities like Harvard, Stanford, NYU and more.

3,500 people attended the conference, and we were the only representatives from Israel. The conference included fascinating lectures of leading figures in various fields: Michael Phelps the swimmer, Michael Louis the writer, Prof. Clayton Christensen, the initiator of the Disruptive Innovation theory; Angela Duckworth, the psychologist investigating GRIT; Omar Johnson, one of the top marketing executives in the world, etc. All lectures emphasized the importance of data as the basis for personal and organizational INSIGHT.

In the course of the conference we were excited to present the QUALTRICS representatives with our own QUEEP system. We stressed out that we wanted to extend its use to English, Arabic and even Chinese. Following this talk, the QUALTRICS representatives expressed their wish to consider collaborating with us.

And in the meantime, back home…

But until that happens, our QUEEP system is getting better and better. We have a rich library of questionnaires in Hebrew and in Arabic, we have a customers’ support system, and we would love to work with schools and organizations across the ocean as well, and bring them our added value as an assessment domain in the Institute for Democratic Education.

If you wish to know more about using the system in your own organization, you are welcome to contact Dr. Yael Steimberg: yaels@democratic.co.il.