EduMosty: a conference connecting universities and education23 November 2017 9 min reading
An exceptional conference, EduMosty (EduBridges) 2017 – The educational potential of the secondary school and the selection of educational profile at Kozminski University, co-organised by Kozminski University, PCG Academia and Librus, was held on 21 September 2017.
The conference EduMosty, organised by Kozminski University in cooperation with PCG Academia and Librus, has just ended. The meeting was devoted to building bridges between secondary schools and universities and by the opportunities provided by learning analytics.
An exceptional conference, EduMosty (EduBridges) 2017 – The educational potential of the secondary school and the selection of educational profile at Kozminski University, was held at Kozminski University on 21 September 2017. The invited guests were the headmasters of secondary schools whose graduates were the best university candidates matching the educational profiles at Kozminski University. These establishments have been identified by PCG Academia within the framework of a broader project, “Learning analytics at universities”, comprising ten universities (including Kozminski University). The expert partners of the conference were PCG Academia and Librus, other partners included the Santander Universidades programme implemented by Bank Zachodni WBK.
Several dozen guests participated in the EduMosty conference. It was opened by the rector of Kozminski University, Professor Witold T. Bielecki, as the latter said, “with great pleasure”. In his speech, the rector admitted that he highly valued the cooperation with secondary schools and with PCG Academia, resulting, among others, in this conference and in the “Learning analytics at universities” project. Professor Bielecki also referred to current events: the National Congress of Science, due to be held on 19-20 September, and the changes heralded by the new Act on higher education, the so-called Act 2.0.
The first presentation in the programme, entitled Let us not waste our chances and take the final examination!, was conducted by Marek Legutko, the data analytics expert at PCG Academia. During his speech, Legutko discussed the outcome of the Learning analytics at universities project, conducted by PCG Academia since early 2016. The analytics expert started by indicating the two most important functions of the secondary school final examination: the prognostic one, of key importance to universities, and the diagnostic one, only used to a small extent by secondary schools. Then, the PCG Academia expert discussed the conclusions of several scientific studies concerning university applicants, students and graduates, including: The Educational Research Institute, the studies by Tomasz Zając of the University of Warsaw, the Youth Educational Development Pathways study and the Study of Human Capital in Poland. The research revealed interesting correlations, e.g. positive correlations between the results of the final examination in basic subjects and in subjects selected by the students.
Marek Legutko also shared an interesting observation made in a number of studies: even though universities can use data from enrolment rankings for the short-term prognosis of the university results of the newly enrolled students with significant accuracy, in case of long-term forecasts, the number of points gained in the enrolment process allows to foresee whether a student will graduate or complete respective years of studies in time only to a limited extent. Therefore, reflection on the quality of university enrolment procedures, as well as more efficient prognostic indicators, are needed. More widespread use of learning analytics may also be a solution.
The search for further correlations and indicators that will allow the universities to efficiently assess whether a given university applicant will graduate successfully was one of the objectives of the Learning analytics at universities project. The study involved ten universities of various types, sizes and locations. The data collected during the Learning analytics at universities project comprised over 140,000 people – as much as c.a. 10% of the population that undertook studies during the years 2007-2012, covered by the study. The results of the Learning analytics at universities project were particularly relevant for the prognostics of academic success. Half of the students covered by the PCG Academia research came from a little over 5% of the total number of secondary schools where the universities conducted enrolment and 23% of the students of respective universities covered by the study came from just 50 schools. It follows that the information regarding the school that the applicant graduated from may be a better indicator than the results of the final examination, and that many students of respective universities came from a specific group of educational establishments – therefore, it is important to appropriately identify the group of schools that are the most relevant to a given university. Furthermore, as follows from the Learning analytics at universities project, female students and those travelling to study at the university from further away, were more likely to graduate. Marek Legutko, the PCG Academia expert added that in the course of the Learning analytics at universities project it was discovered that the mobility of university candidates has increased – the number of people who commenced studies in the same district fell to an insignificant proportion. Are women, commencing studies directly after graduating from secondary schools located further away from the university, the perfect university applicants? The answer requires further research in the field of learning analytics.
The next speaker was Jakub Rzadkiewicz, the regional director of Librus, who gave a presentation entitled The role of Big Data in education supervision and education establishment quality management. Rzadkiewicz emphatically rejected the opinion that Big Data may only be used by big institutions. During his presentation, the director of Librus clearly demonstrated that schools produce a great amount of data which may be used to improve the establishment quality management. These reflections were not merely theoretical – Rzadkiewicz presented a number of practical examples to make the listeners realise how learning analytics may be used in the practice of their own schools. The tools offered by Librus are of great assistance and facilitate the execution of tasks in the area of learning analytics, which may bring outstanding benefits to the school and to its students.
Then, the graduates of Kozminski University – some of whom are already employers themselves – and the current students of the university took the floor. During a discussion panel, the invited guests told their stories, focusing on the defining moments of their professional careers. The speakers shared their educational and professional experiences and told the guests what qualifications and competencies the students want to gain, what lessons and classes they miss and what learning environment is optimal in the context of professional development. One of Kozminski University graduates, Mateusz Krajewski, the former president of the Kozminski University Students’ Self-Government, smiled as he suggested that the next editions of the conference should be called not EduMosty (EduBridges), but EduPrzęsła (EduSpans), as it is on the spans created by universities that students can build their own bridges to their life goals and personal accomplishment.
After the discussion panel, the time has come for the speech of the President of PCG Academia, Leszek Lewoc, who discussed in detail the individual reports drawn up especially for the participants. All the invited secondary school representatives received the PCG Academia reports, which included information obtained from educational analytics regarding the image of a given school from the perspective of a university, on the example of Kozminski University. The reports presented in a clear manner not only the information regarding the academic career of the graduates, which is relevant for each school, but also the suggested study majors at Kozminski University best matched to the interests and the skills of the graduates. The reports, rich in information which can be directly put into practice, increasing the schools’ efficiency, demonstrated what benefits learning analytics can bring.
The president of PCG Academia also notified the guests of the forthcoming and planned changes related to the reform of higher education, in particular the ones bound to significantly affect the university enrolment process. The most significant, introduced this year, was a change of the algorithm of public university funding, which will no longer be based on the total number of students, but on the optimum ratio of students to teaching staff. The ratio was established by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education at 11-13 students per employee. More funds will be provided to those universities that fall within that limit, which, at some universities, has already translated into enrolling several thousand students less.
The new act is also to contain provisions on enrolment that will be particularly relevant for the students. They will enable universities to introduce entrance examination – now seldom used – as part of enrolment procedure for any major. The results of such examination would constitute 50% of the enrolment procedure result. Leszek Lewoc, the president of PCG Academia, also drew the listeners’ attention to an item of the act which is not emphasised very often. The university senates would have time not until 30 May, as it is now, but until 30 June, to publish a resolution on the principles of the enrolment procedure.
The conference was concluded by presentation of awards to secondary school headmasters. The winners included:
- Warsaw Uprising 2nd General Upper Secondary School in Warsaw – for the best cooperation with Kozminski University;
- Jan Śniadecki 2nd General Upper Secondary School in Kielce – for the highest number of winners of school olympiads enrolled in Kozminski University;
- Ruy Barbosa 50th General Upper Secondary School with Integrated Classes in Warsaw – for the highest number of students enrolled in Kozminski University;
- Edward Dembowski 48th General Upper Secondary School in Warsaw – for efficiently preparing the students to study at Kozminski University
- Józef Piłsudski General Upper Secondary School in Garwolin – for fruitful cooperation with Kozminski University.
The conference was undoubtedly successful. The meeting revealed the vast possibilities of cooperation between education establishments and universities and the high potential of streamlining education management provided by learning analytics.
Honorary patronage over the conference had been assumed by the President of the capital city of Warsaw, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, the Mayor of the Praga-Północ District of the capital city of Warsaw, Wojciech Zabłocki and Małgorzata Żuber-Zielicz, the president of the Education and Family Committee of the capital city of Warsaw.