To accomplish set goals in an organisation, the school manager or administrator must plan, implement such plans and evaluate success. To do so, the use of statistical data is crucial. In this paper the writer is going to discuss the importance of statistics in her area of study which is Educational Management.
According to Kendrick (1997:1) statistics are, “numbers that help us find patterns in data, such as averages and medians.” Thus statistics looks at how to collect, organise, analyze and interpret numerical information from data. Aczel and Sounderpandian (2002:15) say, “results from a good statistical analysis are always concise, often precise and useful.” In that light the collection, analysis and storage of statistical data on the educational system become very important to the school manager for the following reasons.
The school managers have a responsibility to plan ahead for the system and to do so it calls for him or her to be in the possession of some past and present data. For a manager to plan adequately for the future he or she needs the data on what the past was and what the present is like. Also, for the day to day decision making, the educational managers need data to guide their decisions.
For instance, to make purchases for textbooks or furniture the school manager uses data on class sizes and the age of students so as to arrive at the quantities to be purchased. Moreover, data collection, analysis and storage are very important to the school managers in the assessment of the growth and progress of the educational system (Hardy and Bryman, 2009). Data on enrolment, class size and number of teachers will enable a school manager to establish if the school is growing or reducing in size.
Also data on enrolment will enable a school manager to see the level of competition around his/her institution. Decrease in enrolment figures may signal stiff competition from a nearby school. Educational data are very vital tools for planning. Kendrick (2000:2) says, “the better we understand statistics, the better we will be at assessing what is going on in the world around us.” The data on yearly performance of students in the external examinations such as Grade Seven National Exams and Ordinary Level National Exams will show if the school is progressing or not academically.
Further, statistical data collection enables the school manager to identify areas of staff training and retraining needs. For example the data on student’s performance in Mathematics may point to a need to retrain the Mathematics teacher. If such teacher is an NCE holder it may be a pointer for a need to recommend him for in-service training for a degree in Mathematics. In addition, statistical data collection is important in the educational system because it aids accountability in the system (Kendrick, 2000).
Periodically, inspectors from the Ministry of Education as well as auditors do visit the schools to monitor how the managers are utilizing the human and material resources. They call for data on these from the school head teacher. The head teacher may also be requested to give such account to Parents Teachers Association or Schools Board of Governors.
Another importance of data collection, analysis and storage in the educational system is that it aids projection of resource requirement. This assertion is in line with Levin and Rubin (1998:8) when they say, “Data can assist decision makers in educated guesses … in given situations.”
For the school manager to project the amount of fund that would be needed for the next session there is a need to have data on quantities of stationery needed by both learners and teachers, the number of ancillary staff paid from the school coffers and (3)other running costs. The collection of statistics is important in educational management as highlighted above as it enables one as a school manager to perform duties with precision using calculated guesses. It also aids a school manager to work effectively and efficiently to meet set goals.
Durosaro, D.O. (2004) Statistical needs for educational management, Ibadan, Regina sons Book Publishers
Kendrick J.R. (1997) Social Statistics: An Introduction using SPSS for Windows, Boston, McGraw-Hill.
Levin, R.I. and Rubin, D.S. (1998) Statistics for Management. USA,
Lockhart, R.S. (1998) Introduction to Statistics and Data Analysis for the Behavioural Sciences, New York, W H. Freeman & Company.