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  • Writer's pictureInjini

Navigating EdTech's impact: Metrics that matter

Updated: Feb 22


Professionals collaborating on documents containing metrics in graph form.



In the rapidly growing field of Education Technology (EdTech), it is becoming increasingly important for companies to measure the success and impact of their solutions. To do this, companies should ensure that they are tracking the right metrics. Understanding and analysing these metrics not only allows entrepreneurs to assess the effectiveness and impact of their products but also enables them to make data-driven decisions to enhance student learning and drive product growth.


One of the key challenges startups face regarding success and impact is the lack of standardised metrics. Given that different EdTech businesses have different goals and focus areas, deciding which metrics are most valuable to track can be difficult and overwhelming. In this thought piece, we will look at some factors to consider when deciding on key metrics and common metrics that can be used to get started. 


Asking the right questions 

While we can all agree that consistent tracking of key metrics is important for measuring impact and success, without standard ways of measuring this, comparing the impact of different EdTech solutions on educational outcomes becomes challenging. Unlike many business and financial metrics with standard calculations and formulas; output, outcome and impact metrics vary depending on the industry, sector, and goal of the EdTech business. 


The task of measuring the success and impact of an EdTech startup is likely to be riddled with a lot of questions such as; what metrics should the startup be tracking? Can we standardise this across vastly different solutions with different focus areas? Which metrics are more valuable? The metrics each EdTech startup should track vary, here are a few questions to consider when determining which metrics to track.


What are the key goals of the EdTech startup? What problem is it looking to address? E.g., improving literacy, and teaching coding skills. The latter may choose to track reading proficiency rates or test scores, while the former may track coding quality or project completion rates. 


Who is the target market? Solutions targeted at K–12 learners may track different metrics from those catering to higher education or post-school learners. For instance, both may track engagement rates; however, a solution targeted at K–12 students may find completion rates more valuable versus a career guidance platform that may find job placement rates more relevant.


Which metrics do investors, partners, and other stakeholders want to see? Investors, funders and potential partner organisations may want to see the startup’s metrics and it is important to be transparent about what the business can and cannot measure.


While it may be challenging to standardise metrics across EdTech solutions, there are some common impact metrics that EdTech businesses should track.


Reach

Typically considered an output metric to EdTech companies, “reach” refers to the number of students, teachers, schools, and districts who have been exposed to or accessed the company’s offerings. Tracking reach helps companies understand how it is expanding access to education. This is often quantified by metrics such as the level of school and teacher engagement, registration or download figures, and platform or website traffic. In addition to tracking overall reach data, EdTech companies could disaggregate this data to understand how their offerings are reaching different demographic groups, like girls and women. 


Usage metrics

Closely related to reach are usage metrics. These metrics measure how actively users engage with the EdTech platform or content. Usage metrics are crucial for understanding how frequently and extensively users are utilising the tools and resources available on the platform. These metrics include time spent on the platform, frequency of logins, interactions per session, and completion rates for assessments. Understanding these metrics can help companies gain insights into user behaviour, allowing them to optimise their platform to enhance learning.


Quality of learning

Metrics related to the quality of learning are a crucial part of measuring impact and success; are students learning and improving skills or knowledge? Are learners showing long-term retention of these skills and knowledge? Quality can be measured in terms of improvement in learning outcomes, for example, test scores, grades, skills gained, and competencies achieved. These metrics could help companies assess the effectiveness and impact of their tools. Metrics related to quality are often considered outcome or impact metrics. It is important to note that these metrics are not easy to measure, as it can be difficult to attribute improved learning outcomes and impact to a single EdTech solution. Nonetheless, measuring and monitoring these metrics is crucial to understanding the effectiveness of the solution.


Using a single metric may give a company valuable insights; however, using a combination of various metrics might provide a much deeper understanding of user behaviour. For example, knowing how many people have been reached through the total number of registrations will only give insight into a part of the story but tracking how many daily and/or monthly active users there are might indicate how many of those registered users are active on the platform. Going further into detail, you may want to understand how the amount of time users spend on the platform and gradually, you may track improvements in grades and test scores. These insights help in determining strategies your startup can use to enhance the learning experience.  


While standardising metrics across EdTech businesses could help with comparing platforms and understanding collective success and impact, a lot of metrics still need to be tailored to the company’s distinct goals and target market. The most important metric to keep track of is being able to demonstrate how your startup improves or can potentially improve educational outcomes in a meaningful way. Standardising metrics may make comparisons easier but context is also important. Perhaps the solution lies in creating universal metrics or flexible frameworks that empower EdTech startups to measure what matters most to their audience. 


 

Sources 

  1. Dashboard fox (2023). Top 8 Ed-Tech Metrics You Should Be Monitoring (and Why)? https://dashboardfox.com/blog/top-8-ed-tech-metrics-you-should-be-monitoring-and-why/ 

  2. Faster Capital (2023). Why Impact Measurement is Crucial for Startups: A Comprehensive Overview. https://fastercapital.com/content/Why-Impact-Measurement-is-Crucial-for-Startups--A-Comprehensive-Overview.html#A-Comprehensive-Overview-Challenges-and-Limitations-of-Impact-Measurement-for-Startups 

  3. Kemell, K. K., Wang, X., Nguyen-Duc, A., Grendus, J., Tuunanen, T., & Abrahamsson, P. (2020). Startup metrics that tech entrepreneurs need to know. In Fundamentals of Software Startups: Essential Engineering and Business Aspects (pp. 111-127). Cham: Springer International Publishing. 

  4. Poltorak, P. (2023). 3 Essential Metrics Impact Investors Want to See in Startups. https://therecursive.com/3-essential-metrics-impact-investors-want-to-see-in-startups/ 


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