Data & Accountability
A survey of Latino residents in Montgomery County, Maryland, reveals their attitudes toward education.
The Washington Post reported that the survey attributed high dropout rates to a variety of factors. The survey focused on Latinos ages 14 to 24.
The survey found:
Today’s post features guest blogger Michelle Gininger, media relations and outreach manager at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, who attended EWA’s National Seminar at Vanderbilt University in Nashville last month.
Are you ready to take your social-media initiatives to a new level? Do you want to get beyond the “press release” tweet and the “come to our event” Facebook post?
Data journalism is more than just reporting on numbers. It’s taking the records of a half-million students and uncovering alarming absentee rates. It’s tracking the attrition of students from neighborhood schools.
The current generation of assessments being taken by students across the country is something like a bad boyfriend.
That’s according to Jacqueline King of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, who made the point at EWA’s National Seminar held last month at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. When a better guy (or test) comes along, she continued, it’s hard to take it seriously.
Marking the 60th anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision Brown v Board of Education, the UCLA’s Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles assessed the nation’s progress in addressing school segregation, and found that–contrary to many claims–the South has not gone back to the level of segregation before Brown. It has, however, lost all of the additional progress made after l967, but is still the least segregated region for black students. New statistics show a vast transformation of the nation’s school population since the civil rights era.
EWA’s 67th National Seminar starts Sunday at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, which makes this a great time to catch up on your background reading for some of the sessions. Some of the issues we’ll be talking about is how education reporters can better use student data in their stories, and the finer points of comparing achievement by U.S. students and their international counterparts. For background reading, here’s my post from December on the international PISA assessment.
Since 2005, U.S. high school seniors have made slight gains in both their reading and math skills, according to new data released by the U.S. Department of Education. But progress has flatlined since 2009, reading scores are lower than they were in 1992, and significant achievement gaps also remain.
Reading and math scores for the nation’s 12th graders have stagnated since 2009, according to new data published today, prompting U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to urge for an overhaul of the nation’s high school model and amplified efforts to narrow the achievement gap for minority students.
Amid the excitement over the news this week that the nation’s high school graduation rate has hit 80 percent for the first time, some important questions still need to be answered. Among them: What are the states that saw the largest gains doing right, and how can the momentum be ramped up to make sure more minority, special education, and low-income students earn their diplomas?
New data shows that the four-year high school graduation rates of Latino students are steadily increasing, but still lag the national average.
The newly released report from the National Center for Education Statistics examined four-year rates in 2010-11 and 2011-12. Between those graduation years the rate rose for all students from 79 percent to 80 percent.
The rate for Latino students rose from 71 percent in 2010-11 to 73 percent in 2011-12.
Based on an extensive analysis of state waiver plans, this report shows that recent progress in holding schools accountable for how many students they graduate from high school—the ultimate goal of K–12 education—may be slowed in some states based on waivers recently granted under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), currently known as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The report includes a review of approved waiver plans submitted by thirty-four states and the District of Columbia.
Public High School Four-Year On-Time Graduation Rates and Event Dropout Rates
School Years 2010–11 and 2011–12
This report includes four-year on-time graduation rates and dropout rates for school years 2010-11 and 2011-12. A four-year on-time graduation rate provides measure of the percent of students that successfully complete high school in four years with a regular high school diploma.
American Statistical Association Statement on Value-Added Models
Use of VAM for Educational Assessment
Many states and school districts have adopted Value-Added Models
(VAMs) as part of educational accountability systems. The goal of
these models, which are also referred to as Value-Added
Assessment (VAA) Models, is to estimate
effects of individual teachers or schools on student achievement while accounting for differences in student background. VAMs are increasingly promoted or mandated as a component in high-stakes decisions such as determining
compensation, evaluating and ranking teachers, hiring or dismissing teachers, awarding tenure, and closing schools.
Kindergarten entrance age
In half of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia, students
must turn age 5 by the end of September to attend
Nineteen states requires students to turn age 5 on or before Sept. 1.
Kindergarten attendance requirement
Fifteen states plus D.C. require children to attend kindergarten
at age five or require kindergarten attendance prior to enrolling
in first grade.
Thirty-five states do not require kindergarten attendance.
Compulsory school age
The Department of Education amended federal student privacy laws to loosen restrictions on sharing the information, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy for journalists to get access.
The third installment of the Brown Center Report on Public Education is out from the Brookings Institution, and author Tom Loveless provides plenty of food for thought in three key areas: the potential effectiveness of the new Common Core State Standards; whether American students are being saddled with significantly more homework; and an examination of Shanghai’s reputation for producing some of the best 15-year-old math students in the world.
Our March 10 webinar gave reporters an inside look at EWA’s new net price tool.
I’m in Austin for the next few days at the SXSWedu conference, which will bring together big thinkers, educators, and entrepreneurs to talk about latest philosophies, approaches, and technology reshaping the business of schooling. I’ve packed my boots, my trendy glasses, and plenty of extra notebooks that I fully expect to fill up with Big Ideas.
New projections on student enrollment from the federal government hint at the financial pressure many states will face as their student populations rise considerably in the next decade.
The data, released this week by the National Center on Education Statistics, forecast that the nation’s number of public school students from prekindergarten through high school will grow by 7 percent between 2011 and 2022. Leading the charge are states in the Western and Southern parts of the United States.
A Kansas state representative wants to begin asking children who enroll in public schools for proof of citizenship or legal presence in the United States.
Republican Rep. Allan Rothlisberg said that he wants to track how much money is spent on educating undocumented immigrants.
Even if he is successful, the 1982 Plyler v. Doe decision concluded that all children are entitled to a free public education, no matter their status. Rothlisberg said he is aware that schools must follow the law.
The percentage of Latinos graduating in the high school class of 2013 matched the percentage of Latino test-takers that year, according to the 10th Annual AP Report to the Nation.
The percentage of Latino graduates and test-takers was about 18.8 percent. Latinos made up about 16.9 percent of students scoring a 3 or higher (generally seen as “passing”) on the exam.
You may know that teachers make up roughly half of the education staff in school districts, but who are the other employees on the rolls? To provide a clearer picture, I broke down data from the U.S. Department of Education on district staffing to visualize this often-overlooked slice of the workforce.
The poll found that while only 37 percent of the public has “seen, read, or heard” “some” or “a great deal” about schools collecting, storing and sharing information, including age, weight and grades, 90 percent are “somewhat” or “very” concerned about private companies having access to student data.
Polling isn’t exclusively the province of political reporters. A handful of national surveys released each year focus on education, including the Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll about public attitudes toward education and MetLife’s annual survey of teachers. There’s also often polling done for statewide education-related elections, such as ballot measures or state superintendent races, and, periodically, by news outlets and advocacy organizations on various education-related issues.
As more school districts share data with parents and teachers, privacy advocates warn that they run the risk of violating students’ privacy.
This First Look presents findings from the third, and final, follow-up survey of the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002). ELS:2002 provides a wealth of information from multiple sources (tested achievement, questionnaire, and administrative records) about the factors and circumstances related to the performance and social development of the American high school student over time. This report draws on ELS:2002 data collected in 2012 to describe the outcomes of the cohort at about age 26, approximately 10 years after they were high school sophomores.
As more school districts share data with parents and teachers, privacy advocates warn that they run the risk of violating students’ privacy. How big of a concern is it? Should parental rights trump educators’ efforts to track students? What should the federal role be?
Results are out for the 21 urban school districts that participate in the National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as “The Nation’s Report Card,” and there are encouraging 10-year trends of overall improvement in reading and math in grades 4 and 8.At the same time, gaps persist among students from low-income families and their more affluent peers, for English language learners, and for many minority students when compared with their Asian and white classmates.(For a breakdown of the results, <a href=”http
Fourth and eighth graders in the country’s largest school districts have improved their mastery of difficult math and English concepts over the past decade but are still behind their peers nationally, according to new federal data.
Dropout prevention is one of the holy grails in U.S. education policy, and for good reason. Stick around long enough to earn a diploma, and you’re instantly more likely to have a job, rely less on government subsistence and even make the leap to postsecondary learning.
The latest results of PISA — an international assessment often
used to compare the quality of the nation’s public schools
against other developed countries — will be released Tuesday.
That makes today the day to keep one particular word in mind:
Are parents who withdraw their children from standardized tests similar to those who choose not to vaccinate their kids?
How will the U.S. fare against other countries when the results from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2012 are released on Dec. 3?
If rising student proficiency is the hallmark of an improving education system, the nation’s schools have something to brag about: A new government report shows fourth and eighth graders since 1990 have made major gains in how well they understand challenging concepts in mathematics while also making modest gains in reading.
The “Nation’s Report Card” is out today for fourth and eighth graders in reading and math, and while there are some positive trends over the past two decades, a significant achievement gap persists among minorities and for America’s students when compared with their peers internationally.
An intensive survey of state officials by the Center on Education
Policy offers insight into the challenges facing states as they
implement Common Core State Standards.
Topics covered include how states are working with higher education institutions, gearing up for assessments, and preparing teachers and principals for the transition.
Speakers: Diane Stark Rentner, Center for Education Policy; Maria Voles Ferguson, Center on Education Policy; Caroline Hendrie, Education Writers Association (moderator)
A fascinating blog post, “Does Poverty Cause Low Achievement?“, by Richard Rothstein of the Economic Policy Institute cautions researchers against using poverty or family income when crunching numbers to come up with education policies. He argues that poverty in and of itself doesn’t cause low achievement. And flawed educational research conclusions have been made by using poverty in data analyses.
At 9 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21, EWA’s Emily Richmond talks with Phi Delta Kappa’s Bill Bushaw about a new Gallup/PDK poll on attitudes toward public education. Watch it here!
The PDK/Gallup poll generated some media buzz, and when viewed alongside two other education polls released this week, reveals a populace that has an ambivalent view on the state of U.S. schools.
Catch up with news coverage of the polls’ results and responses from stakeholders below:
I spoke with Bill Bushaw, executive director of Phi Delta Kappa, about the new PDK/Gallup poll findings.
How equitable is education in your school districts? Do low-income and minority students have the same access to advanced math and science classes, or Advanced Placement courses? Are teachers in low-income schools veterans or new teachers?
K-12 Opportunity Gaps and Out-of-School Factors, The Educated Reporter:
A new national study conducted by the federal government shows the achievement gap between white students and minorities has narrowed among nine and 13 year-olds since the 1970s, yet has remained mostly flat among 17 year-olds.
Released by the makers of the gold standard of student assessments, National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP), the newly published findings are part of an ongoing study that measure students’ understanding of mathematics and reading.
Below is a sampling of the press coverage.
While students are celebrating the start of the long summer break, there’s a significant tradeoff for the three months of leisure – on average, students will return to school in the fall a month behind where they performed in the spring. And the learning loss is even greater for low-income students who were already behind their more affluent peers. In this EWA Webinar, we examine how districts are successfully combating summer learning loss with high-quality programs and leveraging community partnerships to help pay for them.
How much of the U.S. gross domestic product is spent on education? How does that education spending break down for early childhood education, K-12 education and higher education? How much private spending is dedicated to education, compared to public spending? What is the link between higher education degrees and unemployment rates in the U.S. and other countries?
Technology Counts 2013—the 16th edition of Education Week’s annual report on educational technology—tackles how school districts are working to incorporate more multimedia into classrooms, upgrade online professional development, and do a better job using data to improve student achievement.
After you’ve filed your back-to-school stories, get ready make waves with some hard-hitting, data-based reporting this academic year. If you’ve never parsed test scores, attendance numbers or graduation rates, this webinar is a great place to start.
Jack Gillum, an investigative reporter with the Associated Press, offers tips on how to use data to enhance your reporting; find the information to get you started; and identify newsworthy trends in the numbers. Gillum contributed to an award-winning 2011 USA Today series on suspicious student test score gains in Washington, D.C.
So you’ve managed to get your hands on all the records your school district keeps about its budget and spending. Now what? How can you turn a giant data dump into a compelling story for your readers?
In this EWA webinar, you’ll hear how reporters at the Dallas Morning News used public records to create databases of district spending and budget information, and how they used those databases to uncover everything from fraud and mismanagement to cozy vendor-employee relationships to the misuse of federal grants.
All over the country, the year’s last school bell is ringing. But now that it’s time for pool parties and summer camp, what happens to the knowledge students gained during the school year?
Gary Huggins of National Summer Learning Association; Kathleen Manzo of Education Week; and Katy Murphy of the Oakland Tribune talk about how reporters can examine summer learning loss and how to tell when schools and communities offer effective summer school.
What lessons can be learned from the push to turn around schools in the nation’s third-largest school district? What is the union’s role in the efforts? Are classroom teachers noticing a chance in their school environment or in student achievement?
Marisa de la Torre, associate director for professional development, University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research, discusses recent data examining school turnarounds in the nation’s third-largest school district. Recorded at EWA’s March 24, 2012 seminar fon school turnarounds at the University of Chicago.
Elizabeth Laird, Director of Communications and External Affairs for the Data Quality Campaign, provides an update on states’ progress toward collecting and using education data and reveals the type of data and related reports available from your states. She’ll especially concentrate on linking K-12 and postsecondary data to explore issues like college and career readiness, college remediation, and other topics.
No one ever entered the journalism profession to crunch numbers, but dealing with data is a crucial part of the education beat. Holly Hacker, statistics guru and education reporter for the Dallas Morning News, shows you the basics for understanding how to effectively report on statistics.
States love to brag when their SAT scores go up, and are quick to offer reasons why they went down. How can reporters see through the spin and put their states in context?
Holly Hacker, education reporter and stats guru at the Dallas Morning News, explains some basic statistical concepts using state SAT scores, showing you the biggest force driving those scores to help effectively and fairly compare your state with all the others.
While this webinar is focused on the SAT, these techniques are applicable to many other education issues.
How can higher education reporters use CIRP survey data in their stories? How are educational institutions using the information? John Pryor, director of CIRP at UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute, gives guidance in this interview conducted at EWA’s Higher Education Seminar on Nov. 4-5 at UCLA.
The New York Times’ Michael Winerip has a hugely effective column in Monday’s paper, about a spike in remediation rates among community college students. This is an issue that doesn’t get enough attention, despite being a central plank on the bridge from K-12 to higher education.
Schools are flooded with data these days, but students, parents, teachers, and administrators often lack the ability to make use of it because the systems for collecting, storing, and analyzing that information don’t mesh with each other, many officials who work with, or in, K-12 education say.
As a regular feature, The Educated Reporter features a buzzword or phrase that You Need To Know (yes, this designation is highly subjective but we’re giving it a shot). Send your Word on the Beat suggestions to email@example.com.
Word on the beat: Assessments
According to GAO’s nationwide survey of state testing directors, all states reported that their policies and procedures included 50 percent or more of the leading practices to prevent test irregularities in the following five areas—security plans, security training, security breaches, test administration and protecting secure materials.
Michael & Susan Dell Foundation focuses on performance-driven education as one of its key goals and has funded efforts in school districts and charter management organizations across the country. As part of that, the foundation commissioned several case studies, including one on the Denver Public Schools District and the other on Charlotte Mecklenburg.
Data Wise Project is an effort based at the Harvard Graduate School of Education that helps develop resources for educators on how to effectively use data. Data Wise provides online training as well as an annual training summit at the school.
Data Use for Improving Learning is a website operated by UCLA’s National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student Testing (CRESST) to look at the effective use of data to improve learning. The site offers current research and guidelines for educators.
DATA Use is a new website created by University of Texas professor Jeffrey C. Wayman, who researches data-driven decision making by school districts and what it takes to make districts effective users of data. His new project, “the Data Informed District,” is examining the work of three districts in central Texas. He will develop a framework based on the research this year (2012).
Data Quality Campaign is a national coalition that has pushed for better data in education. It keeps a list of “10 essential elements” that every state education data system should have — including student-level information on test scores and demographics (such as race, gender and socioeconomic status); a unique identifier assigned to students so they can be followed over time; and the ability to match individual teachers to their students.
Consortium for School Networking’s Data-Driven Decision Making (3D) Initiative is a national effort to help school district technology leaders build and sustain a data culture within their districts. It is designed to provide tools and resources to help districts implement and sustain data usage while providing a national forum on how data are being used to individualize the learning process.
The Center for Data-Driven Reform in Education is based at Johns Hopkins University and conducts training as well as provides a model, Raising the Bar, for data-driven instruction. Note that the organization is affiliated with the Center for Research and Reform in Education and Robert Slavin.
Students went home for the summer on June 2. Teachers closed out the 2010-11 school year the next day. And over the next week at Linden-McKinley STEM Academy, thousands of pieces of student data — including grades — were changed.
A new survey paints a troubling portrait of the American educator: Teacher job satisfaction has hit its lowest point in a quarter of a century, and 75 percent of principals believe their jobs have become too complex.
The findings are part of the MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Challenges for School Leadership. Conducted annually since 1984, the survey polled representative sampling of 1,000 teachers and 500 principals in K-12 schools across the country.
In the 12 years since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act, frequent high-stakes exams have become the norm at every public school in every state in the country. Standardized testing programs cost states a total of $1.7 billion yearly, according to a recent report from the Brookings Institution. Poor performances on these exams can have severe consequences: students with low scores can be held back, teachers whose students do poorly can be fired, and schools with below-average overall results can be closed entirely.
Today is the second annual Digital Learning Day, intended to highlight the best practices and brightest ideas for incorporating technology effectively into the nation’s classrooms.
Changes to evaluation systems yield only subtle differences.
Data First was created with the idea that data matters. Education data, used well, can help school board members and everyone else who cares about education to make good decisions – ones based, not on the loudest voices or the latest theories, but on the facts about what students need and how they are currently doing. The Data First site is designed to link visitors to data they can use about schools, and to teach them how to use it better
This database includes all public schools in districts with more than 3,000 students from the 2009-2010 school year — about three-quarters of all such students in the country. Use it to find out how well your state provides poor and wealthier schools equal access to advanced classes that researchers say will help them later in life.
Data, while imprecise, suggest that some states are producing far more new teachers at the elementary level than will be able to find jobs in their respective states—even as districts struggle to find enough recruits in other certification fields.
For some observers, the imbalances reflect a failure of teacher colleges—by far, the largest source of new teachers—and their regulatory agencies to cap the number of entrants.
WBEZ plotted annual school closings and schools “turned around” since the 2001-02 school year when CPS began shuttering schools as a reform strategy. This sortable chart and map shows where schools have been closed or turned around (where the staff is completely replaced but students remain), what’s become of the old buildings and how well the new schools in those buildings are performing. The chart includes updated performance data from the 2011-12 school year.
This non-technical research brief for policymakers and practitioners summarizes recent analyses from the Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) project on identifying effective teaching while accounting for differences among teachers’ students, on combining measures into composites, and on assuring reliable classroom observations. (Editor’s note: The study was part of a three-year, $50 million project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that included dozens of researchers and over 3,000 teachers who volunteered.
Teachers in Louisiana have all but lost the tenure rules that once protected their jobs. Beginning this year, all 50,000 of them will be evaluated and ranked on an annual basis, often with test scores factoring in heavily. Soon, consistently “ineffective” teachers will no longer be welcome in the classroom. This, depending on one’s point of view, is either the latest assault on Louisiana’s educators or an urgent step toward modernizing the teaching profession and lifting the state out of academic mediocrity.
If you can identify the meaning of the word “prospered” within a
passage, chances are you know more vocabulary than most American
high school seniors.
The results of the national standardized vocabulary tests are in, and the scores are troubling — but not unexpected — experts say. Average performance on the U.S. Education Department’s national exams was mostly stagnant at low levels between 2009 and 2011, and the highest performers lost ground during that time.
Data have been increasingly incorporated into education practice and the increasing reliance on standardized tests is increasing the amount of data for educators to analyze. But the overwhelming data are leaving many unable to figure out how to use them.
The report identifies state collaboration on assessments as a clear strategy for achieving cost savings without compromising test quality. For example, a state with 100,000 students that joins a consortium of states containing one million students is predicted to save 37 percent, or $1.4 million per year; a state of 500,000 students saves an estimated 25 percent, or $3.9 million, by joining the same consortium. Collaborating to form assessment consortia is the strategy being pursued by nearly all of the states that have adopted the Common Core standards.
Matt Chingos has an idea that will likely roil the scores of parents and teachers who think the U.S. tests its students too much: we might actually spend too little on standardized testing.
In a report released Thursday titled “State Spending on K-12 Assessments,” Chingos, a fellow at the Brookings Institute, tallied up the cost of standardized testing, a subject that has fueled much debate and speculation. After sending out countless Freedom of Information Act requests and rummaging through boxes of documents, he arrived at an estimate of $1.7 billion.
Connecticut has run out of time to comply with a court order to reduce the inequities caused by the segregation of Hartford’s largely black and Hispanic school population. The state Department of Education on Thursday afternoon reported that 37 percent of Hartford students are now attending integrated schools — 4 percent shy of the number the state agreed to reach in a settlement five years ago.
Based on the expenditures in the mid-range districts, an average cost per student is developed. Local school districts statewide are supposed to receive that average cost per student multiplied by their average daily attendance.
The superintendent of San Jose Unified and leaders of the district’s teachers union have agreed on an innovative evaluation and compensation system that, if implemented, would be significantly different from any in California. With education groups in Sacramento and legislators still bruised over a grueling, failed effort to revise the state’s teacher evaluation law last summer, the San Jose plan offers hope that a progressive compromise on divisive issues is possible.
The AJC’s survey of the 50 state education departments found that many states do not use basic test security measures designed to stop cheating on tests. And most states make almost no attempt to screen test results for irregularities.
The percentage of teachers and other certificated staff lacking proper credentials was actually 29 percent, not the 58 percent the state reported for the 2005-06 school year. The revelation, sparked by errors in state data identified by California Watch, means the state has been using an incorrect baseline as it measures progress at its lowest-performing schools.
A decade ago, an economist at Harvard, Ronald Ferguson, wondered what would happen if teachers were evaluated by the people who see them every day—their students. The idea—as simple as it sounds, and as familiar as it is on college campuses—was revolutionary. And the results seemed to be, too: remarkable consistency from grade to grade, and across racial divides. Even among kindergarten students. A growing number of school systems are administering the surveys—and might be able to overcome teacher resistance in order to link results to salaries and promotions.
The 2012 edition of Education at a Glance enables countries to see themselves in the light of other countries’ educational performance.
Attendance: up. Dropout rates: plummeting. College acceptance: through the roof. My mind-blowing year inside a “low-performing” school.
The Hechinger Report is investigating how professional-development funds are spent in the country’s largest school system—New York City—as well as in other districts around the nation to see what we can learn from schools, districts and countries that excel at ongoing teacher training.
Omaha Public Schools spent millions launching a computer system to help teachers provide data-driven instruction. But some teachers haven’t embraced it, and others say they aren’t fully trained in how to use it. And still other educators say that while they’re able to diagnose where students need help, they need more assistance in developing alternative strategies.
Can administrators, policymakers and educators use objective data to create the perfect learning experience?
EWA 2012 National Reporting Contest winner. Longitudinal studies tend to tell us the most about student progress, but the reports can be dense and difficult to access. This series takes on the task of following the same group of students for 13 years until they graduate from high school.
Data analysis is so trendy these days that Brad Pitt is getting millions of people to sit through a movie about quantitative methodology called Moneyball, writes Eduwonk blogger Andy Rotherham. A lot of education reformers are calling for a similar approach to improve student performance but there are some significant strikes against a Moneyball approach to education, he says.
This study may be the first large-scale randomized assignment study looking at data-driven instruction and its effect on student learning. The study looked at 500 schools in 59 districts to estimate the effects of a project by the Johns Hopkins Center for Data-Driven Reform in Education. The study looks at the first year.
Education Week focused on data-driven decision making in nine articles over 2010 and 2011, looking at issues around mining the data to improve instruction, better use of data to prevent dropouts, implementing the technology and managing student privacy, among other topics.
Prominent education researcher Larry Cuban writes a column offering a skeptical view of the move toward data-driven instruction
Effective data use by U.S. schools is proving to be a vexing problem. Researchers in this paper suggest ways that schools and districts can use data for educational improvement. They discuss three organizational areas in which these districts may improve: establishing common understandings, professional learning for using data, and computer data systems.
EWA 2010 National Reporting Contest winner. From the series description: “In a series appearing over eight Sundays, ‘Building a Better Teacher’ looked at challenges to the way teachers are trained, evaluated, paid, promoted and dismissed - and how all of it comes to bear on student success.”
Grant School District 3 in Oregon took full advantage of a new data-driven training program to improve its students’ test scores by using data to focus on trouble spots. Spelling errors by students shrank substantially thanks to the effort.
Tennessee has kept detailed measurements of student achievement for nearly two decades but the data were off-limits to teachers, who still don’t know exactly how to use it to improve instruction.
EWA 2010 National Reporting Contest winner. Studies increasingly show chronic truancy is a telltale sign that a student is on the road to dropping out of school. So what can schools do about it? This feature examines the sleight of hand students come up with to play hooky, and the steps schools could take to combat the high rates of ditching class.
The Fulton County, Ga., public school system is well-known for its data-driven decision making and management system. In fact, it’s been lauded by experts for its techniques. It took the district 10 years to get there.
The Institute for Educational Sciences provided a guide for
educators on the best research available on data-driven
decision-making and instruction. The report highlights findings
with strong evidence as well as findings where the evidence is
“Leading indicators” in education — as in economics — can provide early signs of progress toward academic achievement and thus help district leaders and other stakeholders make informed decisions about efforts to improve student learning.
The paper, a chapter in the Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education, summarizes two RAND studies that address this question: What are the different ways educators use data to make decisions about teaching and learning? The study outlines factors that enabled – or inhibited – various types of data-based decision-making.
RAND provides an “occasional paper” reviewing its research on data-driven decision making and clarifying what conclusions can be drawn. There remain many unanswered questions about the interpretation and use of data to inform decisions and the ultimate effect of those decisions.