1 Survey Development (January-June 2011)
The survey comprised three questionnaires derived from an analytical framework and based on the results of a literature review. Two questionnaires focus on head teachers and class teachers at primary, lower secondary, upper secondary academic and upper secondary vocational education levels. They enable comparison with the surveys used by the eEurope 2002 and 2005 initiatives, for example Benchmarking Access and Use of ICT in European Schools), but are enriched and updated, addressing ICT use in and out of school. The third questionnaire is for two groups of students: one at ISCED 2 (grade 8 – 13.5 years old on average) and the other at ISCED 3 (grade 11 – 16.5 years old on average). Questionnaires contain only closed questions, on facts (access and use, for example) and on opinions (statements, for example) and were piloted in the UK and France, then revised and translated into the 23 official languages of the 31 countries.
2 Sampling (June-September 2011)
National coordinators nominated by education ministries supported the sampling process. Using official school databases in each of the 31 countries, they prepared lists according to guidelines in a sampling manual, enabling 300 schools to be randomly selected at each of four levels: primary, lower secondary, upper secondary academic and upper secondary vocational level, in total around 1200 schools in each country. In small countries all schools were included. For each school two replacements were identified. In each school, the head teacher completed the head teacher questionnaire and one class was randomly selected: at grades 4 (on average 9.5 year old pupils), 8 and 11. Three teachers (one in primary school) teaching that class were then randomly selected; they completed the teacher questionnaire. Only students in the grade 8 and 11 classes completed the student questionnaire. At school level, the randomised sampling of the class and the teachers was done by a school coordinator identified by the head teacher and supported by the national coordinator and guidance materials in their language.
3 Data Collection (September-December 2011)
The data collection period began six weeks after the start of the school year 2011-12 and ended in December 2011. School leaders were contacted by email automatically sent by the online system. If they agreed to participate, a manual was sent by the system to a school coordinator who drew a sample at teacher and class level, and supported the head teacher (principal), up to three teachers and one class of students in completing the online surveys. National coordinators provided national helpdesk support for schools throughout this period and they were supported by the contractor. Problems and participation levels were constantly monitored, and remedial action taken when necessary.
4 Data analysis (January-July 2011)
Data analysis began in January 2012 after the online survey system was closed down and the data exported. The database was cleaned and data weighted. Unreliable data was identified, ie where numbers of responses are insufficiently high (e.g. below 40) - and excluded. This had the effect of eliminating four countries from the survey: Germany, Iceland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
In addition to cleaning and codification processes, standard statistical tools were applied to each query. The statistical analysis provided comparisons and trends analysis with past data collections, analysis of new data, and country by country analysis. The analysis was enriched with a qualitative analysis to identify facts to be investigated and hypotheses to be statistically tested by the data, and provide opportunities for understanding and clarification. The qualitative analysis used existing contextual data (e.g. household equipment from EUROSTAT) and information at country level (contained in the annual European Schoolnet Insight country reports, for example) to enrich the analysis.
5 Reporting (March-October 2012)
Draft findings were presented and discussed at a stakeholder workshop in spring 2012 and the survey final report, 31 country profiles and an article delivered to the European Commission in autumn 2012. Publication is due in early spring 2013 on the Digital Agenda website.
The ESSIE Team
Funded by the European Commission Directorate General Information Society and Media and supported by ministries of education, ESSIE is led by European Schoolnet and the University of Liège.
Secure data processing facilities are provided by the Data Processing Center of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, Hamburg.
First large scale survey of ICT in Europe's schools under way
Survey responses will be analysed and published in an international comparison report and 31 country reports in 2012. Timo Lankinen, Chief Executive of Finland’s National Board of Education commented: “Our country has prepared national plans for ICT and we need information about developments and how Finland compares with other countries.”
The survey will produce findings to help understand and improve teaching and learning with ICT: "ICT enables customization and can make teaching more efficient, effective and attractive. Indispensable in modern times, technology can support higher quality education with limited resources. This research contributes to knowledge about the relationship between these elements,” according to Toine Maes, Director of Kennisnet in The Netherlands.
In several countries the value of the survey is to support evidence-based policy development. For Malta’s National Coordinator, Emmanuel Zammit the survey “will help us project better for the future and help us make full use of the training and technology that we have been investing in these past years.” Marta Hunya, senior researcher at the Hungarian Institute for Educational research and Development, echoed these views: “In Hungary the monitoring process of using ICT in public education started a year ago, and we hope that this international survey will raise awareness of the importance of the issue at all levels from schools to the government. We have developed an ICT self-evaluation website and tool and I am curious to see the results of both surveys, and how they compare with each other.”
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