New research finds that states must do more to put data in the hands of people, especially parents and teachers. While states have made progress in shifting the culture of education data use from one of compliance to one of continuous improvement, the Data Quality Campaign (DQC) finds that there is more work to be done to make data work for students.
DQC’s report, Time to Act 2017: Put Data in the Hands of People, illustrates how states’ investments in data over the last decade have begun to change perceptions, policy, and practice. This marks the first report on states’ progress to realize DQC’s Four Policy Priorities to Make Data Work for Students, released last year. The report also presents specific and immediate actions state leaders and advocates can take.
The report identified significant findings about the landscape of education data, such as:
- Data is no longer being used only as a hammer. State data collection and use have expanded beyond solely being a tool for accountability and compliance. Only 18 percent of teachers say that they believe data is used to punish teachers and schools.
- Families and educators still don’t have all of the information they need to support students.
- Only 38 percent of public school parents strongly agree that they have easy access to all the information they need to make sure that their child gets a great education.
- 67 percent of teachers are not fully satisfied with the effectiveness of the data and tools they have access to on a regular basis.
state and district leaders have prioritized data use, that information
will not fully meet the needs of all children until people representing
multiple perspectives and specific needs are at the table when important
decisions are being made about what data is being collected, who has
access, and how it’s being used.
- Only seven states have evidence of a cross-agency data governance body with members who represent a diversity of perspectives and needs, especially those who have been traditionally underserved such as English language learners, students with disabilities, and military-connected students.
- Only one state publishes student achievement data about students who are in foster care on its report card.
“After prioritizing robust education data for over a decade, states are focused on using that data to better support students,” said Aimee Rogstad Guidera, president and CEO of DQC. “States now have the hardest work ahead of them, which is putting data in the hands of those closest to students to serve every child. States will not realize the goal of the Every Student Succeeds Act unless they build on these efforts to shift the role of data from compliance to continuous improvement.”
“Just collecting the data is not enough,” said Kristen Amundson, president and CEO of the National Association of State Boards of Education. “Unless parents, policymakers, and educators know what to do with information, our country is missing out on a big opportunity to improve education for all students.”
With a stronger data infrastructure now in place, policymakers can and must prioritize getting teachers, families, and students the data they need to answer questions, take action, and make corresponding changes in classrooms—where it matters the most. Without this intentional focus, states will fail to maximize the investments in education data that they have made and lose a critical opportunity to make data work for all students.