Call to all districts: Tackling tough data problems

You’re a Chief Academic Officer, or a similar position, and back-to-school planning and the chaos and excitement of the first day of school have passed. Your students are getting back into a routine, at least most of them. Your teachers are hard at work in the classroom. You are trying to stay laser focused on supporting your educators and students and making sure all the initiatives aimed at maximizing your students’ learning are going strong.

You take a deep breath because, despite some obstacles along the way, you’ve made it through back-to-school! Just as you make it past the first set of obstacles, a second set arise.

Why might this be?

Are your instructional leaders and principal effectively and quickly identifying students who need early intervention? You know getting students the help they need to succeed as early as possible in the school year is critical to ensuring you don’t lose them altogether. Your instructional and school leaders are onboard with this too, but for some reason this isn’t happening.  Are they wasting valuable time trying to gather up data to identify students who might need a special education evaluation referral, who are already showing signs of truancy, or who need tutoring or specialist support?

Are you getting the most out of the new technology you have purchased? You have prioritized bringing technology into the classroom to increase student engagement and enable teachers to provide more personalized instruction to meet each student’s needs. Instead of spending time using the technology in instruction are they typing in roster data? Are your teachers still creating data walls, making giant spreadsheets, or printing big binders of data to make sense of the information coming from the five different systems they are using in their classrooms?

Are you providing parents and students the information they need to help their students succeed? You want to keep parents and students informed of their student’s progress and give them timely information to understand when the student is succeeding or needs help. Are you limited to sharing homework assignments, attendance warnings, interim progress reports, report cards, and summative assessment results with parents? Do you want to provide parents and students a detailed understanding of what competencies students know and which they don’t, but you find your just letting them know the student scored a 70 percent on a quiz?

Having a solid data infrastructure built upon open data standards, such as the Ed-Fi Data Standard, can unlock the power of the siloed data you currently have and bring critical, timely information to your leaders, teachers, students, and parents and reduce the risk of a data privacy breach.

If you answered yes…

I’ve posed a lot of questions and provided few answers, which isn’t so helpful. If you answer yes to any or many of these questions, we likely have a solution for you.  You are likely suffering the effects of a disconnect data backbone with data living across a patchwork of applications that are connected by manual or customized data loading process. Having a solid data infrastructure built upon open data standards, such as the Ed-Fi Data Standard, can unlock the power of the siloed data you currently have and bring critical, timely information to your leaders, teachers, students, and parents and reduce the risk of a data privacy breach. The Ed-Fi Data Standard and technology can allow you to:

  • Efficiently and securely integrate data across multiple tools
  • Enable the secure storage of all student data in a single place
  • Provide high quality, accurate data to the tools you use to share data with educators
  • Empower students and parents with access to the right data at the right time

Data isn’t just a concern for the tech team to handle, it is a critical enabler to improving instruction and student outcomes. If you want to tackle any of the problems outlined above, take five minutes to read this page and learn more about the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation’s interest in identifying district partners to implement Ed-Fi based solutions to tackle tough data problems.