Where are we in Education Today? Big Data and Educational Data Mining

Background of Big Data and Educational Data Mining

Big data is a relatively new phenomenon in education. It wasn’t until the last five years have school districts around the United States begun to store data and analyze data to help determine which programs and curriculum are working for their students. Big data in education consists of data collected educators that includes in-class assessments, assignments, curriculum software data, online course data, student demographic information, and career and vocational inquiry assessments. What’s amazing about the availability of this data at your school-site and district is it allows you to analyze what we are doing as educators inside and outside of classrooms to determine if it is working or not!

Big data is harnessed by educational data mining. Educational data mining is organizing and manipulating data to determine statistical trends of individual students and groups of students within learning environments. In addition, educational data mining can help predict the outcomes for students. This is huge when helping students who are struggling in school. As a result, the appropriate interventions can be implemented to help the student before they get too far behind. Below, a diagram presents how educational mining occurs. See the power of what educational data mining can do for educators in their daily practice!


Source: Osmanbegović, Edin & Suljic, Mirza. (2012). DATA MINING APPROACH FOR PREDICTING STUDENT PERFORMANCE. Journal of Economics & Business/Economic Review. 10. 3-12.

Why is Educational Data Mining Important

Education data mining is extremely important to improving student outcomes at school. We can give teachers proper data to help determine what interventions and tools that can be used to help students improve. This is huge! We can provide better equity and access with this information because we can help individual students and groups of students who need the most help based on the data that is collected. In addition, with this information, we can make data-driven decisions to ensure teachers are utilizing the best possible Evidence-Based Practices to provide a pathway towards higher student achievement. I have provided a video of various experts in the field of educational data mining discussing its importance for the field of education.

Why I am Here

Educational data mining is gaining traction around the world and revolutionizing education. However, as an industry, we have a long ways to go to begin making sense of what tools we have available as well as what we need to do as educational leaders and teachers to utilize its power. This is where I come into play. My job is to help inform you of the latest research in educational data mining and data-driven decision making in education. I want to be a resource to District Superintendents, Principals, Academics, and Teachers on these subjects. I firmly believe we on the cusp of a major shake-up in education due to this technology. Therefore, I want to be here for you to help make sense of these topics and how we can best utilize it at your districts and the schools you serve. Ultimately, my goal is to help create the best educational outcomes for your students. Through learning more about what’s available regarding educational data mining and data-driven decision making, we can help do this together.

I plan on posting at least two blog posts a month on these topics as I continue to research this topic for my doctoral dissertation. In addition, I will write about experiences utilizing educational data mining and data-driven decision making within my daily practice as an Educational Specialist. Hopefully, through these blog posts, you will learn as much as you can as well as apply what you’ve learned to your daily practice!

More Information on Educational Data Mining

Below is a video discussing at great depth this topic. It provides information about the applications, tools, and the future of educational data mining. I recommend this video to learn more about this topic to begin making sense of what this could mean for your school and district if you began to utilizing the power of educational data mining in your daily practice


Published by Matthew Rhoads, Ed.D.

Innovator, EdTech Trainer and Leader, University Lecturer & Teacher Candidate Supervisor, Consultant, Author, and Podcaster

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