Friday, November 16, 2012

States Have Not Yet Shifted Their Focus from Building Education Data Systems to Helping People Like Parents and Teachers Use Them

The Data Quality Campaign’s (DQC) eighth annual state analysis, Data for Action 2012, shows that although states are making progress in supporting effective data use, the hardest work remains. States collect quality data and have enacted policy changes, but they have not yet focused on helping people, especially parents, teachers and students, effectively use data.


“States should be commended for their hard work building robust data systems. But it’s time to focus on the people side of the data equation — how this benefits teachers and students,” said Aimee Rogstad Guidera, executive director of the Data Quality Campaign. “State policymakers must actively support a culture in which all education stakeholders are actually using and learning from this crucial information to improve student achievement — not just using data for shame and blame.”


Without exception, every state in the country collects quality data extending beyond test scores. Yet no state has taken all of the 10 State Actions to Ensure Effective Data Use, which support making better use of the rich data states now collect. For example:

  • States have laid the foundation to link P–20/workforce (P–20W) data systems but lack governance structures with the authority necessary to share appropriate and limited critical data. This deficiency makes it nearly impossible to provide people the data they need to ensure that students stay on track for success in college and careers.

  • States are producing reports and dashboards using longitudinal data but are lagging in ensuring data access by stakeholders such as parents; there is more work to do to meet all stakeholders’ needs.

  • States are increasingly providing training to help stakeholders use data but have not done enough to build the capacity of all education stakeholders to effectively use data, especially teachers.

However, some states are doing cutting-edge work, proving that these challenges can be addressed now:

  • Kentucky has refined providing information to high schools about their graduates’ performance in college and used this information to increase college enrollment rates and reduce remediation rates for Kentucky students.

  • Delaware has implemented 9 of the 10 State Actions by leveraging P–20W leadership, state policy, federal opportunities and resources and can now use data to answer important policy questions like which students enroll in postsecondary institutions and whether they get jobs in the field in which they were trained.

  • Maine collaborated with stakeholders from critical agencies to build the policy, support and infrastructure to link data systems across the P–20W pipeline, which ensured that data collection, sharing and use are aligned with the state’s broader policy priorities aimed at improving student outcomes.

  • Indiana has made great progress ensuring that stakeholders have access to the data they need, developing a web-based portal and college- and career-readiness reports that provide data, resources, and tools for districts, schools, educators and families. Indiana also achieved the greatest growth on the 10 State Actions over the past year, from 3 to 8 State Actions.

  • Ohio has developed a strong teacher-student data link (TSDL) that has helped the state generate teacher performance data to share with teacher preparation programs, which provides them the data they need to improve their programs and ensure their graduates are prepared to enter the classroom.

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