As one of the key exerices of the workshop, the stakeholders were asked to share the most frequently used tools and review them on the following criteria:
- Things they liked about the tool / platform.
- Things they didn't like about the tool / platform.
- Things they would like to improve about the tool / platform.
These points across various tools were summarised into key recurring themes around the tools.
- Existing tools are having common usability issues since most of them were designed a decade ago. Users find it slightly tough to navigate through the different functionalities because they are outdated in a way. It is because users spend most of their time on other sites and they prefer a website or tool to work the same way as all the other sites they already know.
- Higher-level stakeholders (e.g. The Director of Education) found most of the tools user-friendly and flexible but at the same time, comparatively lower-level stakeholders (e.g. School Teachers) found it complex, cumbersome, and time-consuming to use.
- Tools or platforms aren't designed in a way that can serve any user from a large range of stakeholders and only an expert of this tool can drill down well and draw better insights.
- The data is available and can provide all the needed information but only trained individuals can search, interrogate and manipulate it.
- Several usability issues with the tool. E.g. Ambiguous Navigation, Complex Functionality, Clunky Interface, Slow Processing, Inconsistently Designed, Poor Understanding of Tool, etc. Hence the tools are too complicated to operate, not easily accessible, and used widely.
- Most of the tools available are not web-based hence not easily accessible and used widely.
- To have a range of databases in one place helps to have a bird-eye view of the landscape. More preferable if the data are broken down nicely into different levels to create an understanding for individual settings.
- Collect more granular level data to create an impact on school-level settings. Comparatively less skewed granular data helps in better comparison between same-level settings, further analysis, and validations.
- The data needs to be updated on a regular basis.
- The platform should not be limited to the applications of a data-driven platform but also generate data stories around the information like Leavers Destinations, Attainment Gaps, Pupils Additional Needs, etc.
- The platform should meet security requirements for holding data and sets boundaries for different staff members.
- The platform should have national consistency and works commonly across all local authorities. It should respond to local authority requests more frequently.
- Prefer to keep the platform separate for early years and later year pupils.
- The division of a large geographical area into smaller data zones gives a better understanding of ground-level settings.
- More filters that enable users to drill down manually or presets of certain deep dive filters.
- Flexible enough to allow custom-made adaptations to programs.
- Ability to track the historical trajectory of the pupils.
- Systems should be able to make predictions for future trends by processing the existing data.
- Introduction of multiple means to understand the actual reason for deprivation.
- Ability to virtually compare similar levels of settings. This visual comparator helps individual settings in better benchmarking and self-evaluation.
- Integration with other platforms like the BGE tool.
- Ability to navigate from map view to spreadsheet.
- Ability to download or print the analysis reports.
These inputs were taken into conisderation when defining the features of the new platform and designing how the features will operate in everyday use.