It is not always easy to measure student learning in the moment and analyze that data, change course, and deliver the right experiences to help students learn. Students in every classroom have different levels of comprehension and need, and they learn in different ways. Teachers are expected to differentiate teaching strategies to respond to student needs, but don’t often have the autonomy, tools, or skills in their classrooms to do so. And today, with technology a part of most students’ lives, its often unclear how to best incorporate that into learning.
When data is actionable, teachers can draw insights and make decisions about the best ways to help each student learn. We know that when we give talented teachers the right resources, information, skills and control of their classrooms, they are able to provide the most useful and relevant instruction to help their students achieve more.
As a funder, thought-partner, and collaborator we focus on several complementary areas to help teachers meet students where they are. We believe teachers must be able to gather and react to formative student learning data. Formative data is gathered as learning is happening. We fund innovative instructional initiatives, school models, and tools that enable more personalized learning experiences for students based on in-the-moment use of data in the classroom. We support and grow organizations and initiatives that have a proven approach to instilling problem-solving and a data literacy mindset in teachers, and give teachers more satisfaction in their work.
While we believe data is a powerful tool in the classroom, we also believe it should it should be used in a safe and secure manner. Therefore, we work with leading organizations to improve data privacy policies and practices.
On the technology side, we support the development and implementation of data infrastructure and data-integration solutions—based on the Ed-Fi data standard—that allow schools and districts to give educators access to comprehensive information that can be used to provide the most relevant instruction. We fund projects that help education stakeholders implement best practices to protect the privacy and security of student data, while maximizing responsible data use to improve student achievement.
Our experience has taught us to be driven by outcomes and goals. In the end, our hands-on approach allows us to share our ideas and experience with others doing similar work.