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Richer, accessible data and advanced analytics inform future education strategy

Measurement is the key to all improvement – and that holds true for education.

Understanding what works, which pedagogies have most impact and which technologies are shifting the learning dial is critical to the success of Catholic Education Western Australia’s (CEWA) LEADing Lights digital transformation platform. 

To ensure that insight is shared widely in education, CEWA is conducting research to explore what works in the search for meaningful education outcomes.

It will gather data and analyse how communities form, as well as how teachers share information and skills. CEWA also plans to examine how students use the LEADing Light platform and how that impacts learning goals and achievements.

Using Microsoft’s innovative teaching and learning instrument in each school to measure impact will deliver invaluable reference points for the entire education sector.

CEWA has also committed to undertake research on the virtual school that it is creating to ensure equitable access for all students.

Dr Cathy Cavanaugh, head of digital transformation learning at CEWA, explains that the data sets being collected are diverse, and so is their application.

“Ultimately, we want information to go proactively to the individual when it is meaningful for them to act on so you know students are using the system as their data is about them and for them. The information reveals how they are tracking, their trends, what they do when they are most successful and the kinds of things to do to be most successful and the kinds of notifications that should go to parents through portals.

“Teachers should have the aggregate view and historical view but also the individual information about how specific students are doing and what they can do to support them. Leaders get an aggregate view of what happened in the past, what is likely to happen in the future and recommendations about what might be done.”

The approach of LEADing Lights is to leverage the flexibility and extensibility that is embedded in the Microsoft cloud and surrounding technology ecosystem in order to enable technology that will benefit students including cognitive services, bots, and designed-in advanced analytics for user notifications of recommendations.

School leaders and CEWA administration are eager for access to the new and expanded insights that will help them in their sustained improvement, including more detailed views of students at the tails of the bell curve so they can be better and earlier supported, and quadrants showing potential of schools and their performance so we can learn from those exceeding expectations to support those challenged to meet expectations.

School leaders also want insight into the effectiveness of their programs to prepare students for success beyond school, which includes data on student post-secondary and professional attainment. LinkedIn is part of the Microsoft ecosystem and provides a potentially important avenue to students once they leave school and take their place in the wider world.

The research that CEWA is undertaking in parallel with the LEADing Lights platform will also help inform the broader educational sector about pedagogies that work, the value of early intervention, the impact of communication and collaboration providing a rich evidence base for strategy and policy development.


For the first time, CEWA, school leaders and parents will have a holistic view of each student through their history in CEWA with no loss of information or time when students change schools, enabling longitudinal achievement reporting and predictions.

In addition, CEWA will have student wellbeing information and the ability to query any relationships among student factors or family factors. More importantly, analytics can be deployed to rank the most influential factors for student success and then monitor those factors.

Because the School Administration platform is built in Dynamics CRM, schools will also have rich data about their family and community engagement that enables them to better engage to benefit students, and will have streamlined workflow for currently cumbersome and manual processes like vocational education, equipment rentals, excursion planning, relief teachers, and others.