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School Districts Embrace Business Model of Data Collection

MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis. — In this small suburb outside Milwaukee, no one in the Menomonee Falls School District escapes the rigorous demands of data.

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Data has become a dirty word in some education circles, seen as a proxy for an obsessive focus on tracking standardized test scores. But some school districts, taking a cue from the business world, are fully embracing metrics, recording and analyzing every scrap of information related to school operations. Their goal is to help improve everything from school bus routes and classroom cleanliness to reading comprehension and knowledge of algebraic equations.