Skip to content

News

Technology the key to reforming and personalising education


Press Release7th July 2023

  • A Digital Learner ID would contain all educational information, enabling a personalised education for every child

  • It would lay the infrastructure necessary for Britain to maximise the coming AI revolution in education, delivering better experiences and more personalisation as well as improved assessment and performance

  • With accurate real-time data drawn from the Digital Learner ID, it will be possible to intervene earlier in underperforming schools.

Giving all students a Digital Learner ID is the key to unlocking transformative education reform, according to the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (TBI).

The proposal is one of five practical measures included in a new report published today - ‘The Future of Learning: Delivering Tech-Enabled Quality Education for Britain’ by Alexander Iosad, James Scales and Kirsty Innes. The report says that schools currently offer an industrial-scale “one-size-fits-all” approach. By giving every student a Digital Learner ID, which contains all their educational information, people can be taught differently, with the opportunity to embrace innovative new tools and materials and use AI and data to revolutionise the experience of both students and teachers.

Alexander Iosad, TBI Education Policy Lead said:

“Students are learning as if they’re still living in the 20th Century.

“This is particularly true when it comes to the way we evaluate school performance. Not only do Ofsted’s high-stakes inspections put pressure on schools but they are too broad brush and quickly out of date. Even “good” or “outstanding” judgements can mask specific gaps in performance and the average time between inspections is three years. This means some schools have gone more than a decade without re-inspection.

“By giving every student a Digital Learner ID, we can use real-time data to create a personalised education for every child. We can also intervene earlier and be more targeted with interventions in underperforming schools. It would allow robust recommendations on improvements to be made and progress to be monitored using accurate, benchmarked data. Leaders and regulators could have a shared understanding of how a school is performing compared to similar settings, jointly decide on specific steps for improvement and schools could be transparently assessed on their implementation.

“Embracing technology will enable us to teach differently, embrace innovative tools and materials and use AI and data to revolutionise the experience of both students and teachers.”

The Digital Learner ID would contain all educational information, including formal test results, attendance, week-by-week assessments, marked homework, records of non-academic achievement and more.

This will also enable a positive overhaul of Ofsted’s defunct approach to inspections and accountability. Ofsted must be radically reformed and upgraded, with a much wider set of analyses and thorough investigation of performance, using the new data available. It is time to move on from the current approach: one trick lightning visits and ‘outstanding’, ‘good’ and ‘needs improvement’ grading. Ofsted needs to become an Office for Accountability, Improvement and Development in Education, with standards woven throughout.

Using real-time data provided by the Digital Learner ID will allow a much deeper analysis and more thorough investigation of a school’s performance, based on a complete picture that develops over time instead of relying on snapshot inspections and broad-brush judgements.

Interventions enabled by the Digital Learner ID would include inviting other leaders who had successfully tackled similar challenges in similar circumstances to co-design plans for improvement, replicating the impact of shared data use and peer-to-peer support that led to the success of New Labour’s London Challenge programme.

Under TBI’s proposals the government would continue to publish the attainment data used by newspapers and private companies to produce league tables. However, the rich data produced by the introduction of a Digital Learning ID will be better, more granular and more timely with a personalised interface for accessing and querying it. It will also be easier to access and understand for anyone looking to compare the merits of different schools or nurseries.

To manage the secure storage and appropriate use of the information, TBI proposes the creation of a new designated data body, independent from the Department for Education to avoid political interference.

Under the TBI proposals schools in England would have the freedom and funding to provide services to other schools anywhere in the country. This would include hybrid lessons in subjects where they have expertise. Parents would also be able to use private providers who may have developed new ways of learning.

Finally, teachers’ administrative load would be reduced through joint lesson-planning and automated marking, freeing them up to provide individual feedback to pupils and work through problem areas in small groups.

Article Tags


No Tags Found

Newsletter

Practical Solutions
Radical Ideas
Practical Solutions
Radical Ideas
Practical Solutions
Radical Ideas
Practical Solutions
Radical Ideas
Radical Ideas
Practical Solutions
Radical Ideas
Practical Solutions
Radical Ideas
Practical Solutions
Radical Ideas
Practical Solutions