Giving Compass’ Take:
• The author discusses how data can be useful to help schools stay on track, provide teachers with flexibility, offer transparency to parents, and protect student information.
• How can education donors utilize the same data to help expand school resources?
• Read about how some school data is failing families.
Along with spotlighting states that can serve as examples to the rest of the country, Time to Act 2017: Put Data in the Hands of the People challenges leaders in education agencies, state boards, legislatures, and governors to prioritize the effective use of data in the following four ways:
1. Measure What Matters: Be clear about what students must achieve and have the data to ensure that all students are on track to succeed.
While states have prioritized data, the data they collect does not always reflect the needs of all children. For example, only six states include information about homeless students on their report cards. Only one state includes information about students in foster care.
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2. Make Data Use Possible: Provide teachers and leaders the flexibility, training, and support they need.
While teachers want to use data to inform their teaching, the report says they don’t always have the time. More than 50 percent of teachers say they have no time during school to review data and 21 percent state they lack training in using data to support teaching and learning.
3. Be Transparent and Earn Trust: Ensure that every community understands how its schools and students are doing, why data is valuable, and how it is protected and used.
Data should be easy to understand and widely available, and states have a duty to share meaningful information with the public. However, Time to Act reports that what states do share is often outdated, difficult to understand, or hard to find, which can leave people frustrated and unsure of what information to trust.
4. Guarantee Access and Protect Privacy: Provide teachers and parents timely information on their students and make sure it is kept safe.
Accessible yet secure data is key to student success. But nationwide, only 36 percent of public school parents strongly agree they have easy access to all the information they need to ensure their child gets a great education. The report states that parents and educators want and need student data, but too few states actually provide full access to students’ progress over time.
Read the full article about how to use data improvement in education by Eva Harder and Skylar Whitman at America’s Promise Alliance
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