Every year, the city of Amsterdam examines the performance of its primary schools, in order to encourage quality improvement. Of course, the quality only improves when parents actually use these surveys in choosing a school for their children. With clear design and clear infographics, we help Amsterdam parents to use that data.
The School Guide fits into the intensive program that the municipality started in 2008 for improving the quality of education: the program ‘Quality approached Primary Education Amsterdam’ (KBA). Within this program we have already designed the Quality Guide and the practice book of Good Education.
We apply startup methods in an environment with formal processes. That might sound odd, but works great.
We couldn't have dreamed for this a few years ago. Other cities haven't come this far yet.
Focus on user
How do you translate complex and large amounts of information into a simple story? We managed by looking at the parents’ needs. With different backgrounds and education levels, they all have different preferences. For example, one parent believes high scores are important, while other parents focus on the direction of education, e.g. Montessori education.
We have translated the data into a simple step-by-step plan where parents can indicate themselves what they consider important. In addition, we make it easy to filter and compare schools.
Make data accessible
We find it important that not only accountants or highly educated people understand the research. Quality of education is important to all. By visualizing the research data, the results are intuitively insightful. Imaging complex weighing factors like shapes, colors and formats greatly improves readability. In addition, the friendly appearance radiates confidence to the reader.
In an early stage parents can see whether their children are at risk of learning disadvantages. (..) I want to give parents the best possible picture of schools. Of course, the choice of school is determined not only by results but also by atmosphere. This way parents are prepared for a much better conversation with the teachers.
School's info now is open data
As part of the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge, Amsterdam aims to disclose as much municipal data as possible. We hereby contribute to the development of the School Data Open Data API we published in mid 2016.
An API is the best way to make variable data accessible to websites and apps. By invoking the API in a programming language, everyone gets immediate insight into the database. Have you never heard of an API? Then you probably need help from a programmer to be able use of it. No worries: almost every programmer can handle this API.
How to use it? For example, you can make connections with other data that is publicly available, or link schools to geographic data to display on a map. If you have any plans to get started, our technicians will be happy to talk. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To get started with the current information, please visit: http://schoolwijzer.amsterdam.nl/nl/api/documentatie
An organization such as the Municipality of Amsterdam cannot and does not want to exclude anyone. Then our user-centered approach comes in handy.