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Five years ago we started our business by introducing a pioneering method for teachers to obtain 360-degree feedback in their classroom.

It worked by enabling teachers to obtain quantitative and qualitative feedback on their practice from students, observers, and a self-assessment. The assessments use a research-based framework of best practice that we developed with the University of NSW and aligned to Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) standards. Our key differentiator has and always will be that we put the teacher at the centre of the process. Ours is not a performance management tool; quite the opposite. The EI’s platform is human-centred and development focused.

Shortly thereafter, we introduced a 360 feedback professional development tool for school leaders. This is also AITSL aligned and tailored to the education sector where commercial tools don’t translate well. The final product in our professional development suite was dedicated to school support staff, again based on a framework of best practice that we developed with our customers.

Along the way, we became experts at developing measurement instruments for education, based on frameworks of best practice. More importantly, we became very good at deploying these services across all sectors and socio-economic backgrounds. We know schools.

In the last 12 months, we’ve broadened our scope to take that core competency, and aim to become the best way by which schools and school systems measure the non-academic aspects of their school. We are the platform for assessing your school health.

So the natural next step for us was to develop a better way to measure wellbeing for students and staff alike. Typically, schools today are still using what is effectively a digitised paper form. Respondents sit down once or at best twice a year, and answer a long-form survey about their engagement and wellbeing as though that point in time was an accurate reflection of a complex and dynamic subject. We viewed this as a problem.

To solve this, we’ve developed a pulse platform specifically designed to work in the complex structures that schools use to manage pastoral care.

The pulse asks students how they are feeling once a week, and collects their responses to 4 engagement questions along the way. The whole check-in takes 60 seconds, and therefore students stay engaged. Crucially, the platform enables a student at risk to ask for help at any point in time.

So with Pulse, not only do schools have a way for students to ask for help from anywhere at any time, but they also have access to statistically robust wellbeing and engagement data in a matter of weeks and it stays up to date from then on. Leaders can then make rapid decisions to improve the overall health of their schools.

In the context of COVID-19, the crisis is actually uncovering the weakness of the old way of working and highlighting the strengths of Pulse. We know that right now, school leaders and policymakers are asking the question: how do we improve our schools when our baseline data is no longer applicable. Here the Educator Impact Pulse can not only provide a much needed, quick solution but also a rapid feedback cycle as to what is and isn’t working.

Educator Impact is making Pulse available to all schools in Australia on a ‘pay what you can’ basis for the remainder of the 2020 school year. For more information, reach out to us at www.educatorimpact.com/pulse

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