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data driven decision

For a number of years, an aging student information system (SIS) plagued Bethlehem Central Schools, located near Albany, New York. By spring 2013, it was apparent new software was needed to maintain the data about the district’s 4,900 students.

“We correctly predicted our SIS would soon be considered end-of-life and would no longer be supported,” says Dr. Sal DeAngelo, chief technology officer for the district. “We wanted to stay ahead of the curve and find a new solution before that happened.”

 St. Louis Superintendent Kelvin Adams reads to Gateway Elementary School students.

St. Louis Public Schools, the largest district in Missouri, was struggling to stay afloat in 2007, with $40 million dollars of debt and low test scores. In March of that year, the state school board revoked the district’s accreditation for not meeting state standards and took control.

K12 districts and decision makers recognize the importance of leveraging educational data to make informed decisions that support student academic success. 

Publication Date: 
5/21/2013

While data analytics have been around for quite some time, what’s new is the increasing capacity for enterprises and governments to analyze and use this information— from a variety of voluminous sources of structured and unstructured data, real-time and static — to innovate and improve the outcomes of everyday life.

A range of previously unimaginable applications of DDI are already being produced—or will be in the near future. These innovations are making people’s lives better and safer and more SIIA created this white paper to explain the nature of DDI, how it empowers enterprises and governments to benefit individuals, and show how it is already enabling economic growth. The paper details how changes in information technology (IT) products and services and the increasing use of data are combining to foster transformative innovation that will greatly benefit how we learn, do business and live our lives, while greatly stimulating economic growth.

Though states are making progress in supporting effective school data use, they must do more to ensure that stakeholders like teachers and parents can easily access information, according to the annual state analysis report, “Data for Action 2012,” released by the Data Quality Campaign, a nonprofit that advocates school data access for all stakeholders.

There are plenty of lessons in predictive analysis models, according to a 2011 white paper, “Worst Practices in Predictive Analysis,” by Information Builders, a company that focuses on enterprise business intelligence and Web reporting software solutions. Here is how to avoid them:

Determine the ROI. When planning to implement predictive analysis, consider the total cost and the anticipated return to ensure the maximum value is achieved.

We at DA keep our ears to the ground and our noses to the grindstone always looking for new stuff to keep you, our readers, well informed. Much of what we’re hearing these days points toward the growing use of predictive analysis—looking at student data and seeing where kids are going, rather than looking at where they’ve been, as is used with data-driven decision making. Sophisticated modeling software is beginning to move from the corporate world and higher education admissions to K12, and the potential is huge.

Uve Dahmen

“The purpose is to bring out the formative nature of summative tests… to get teachers to also look forward—not just backward.” —Uve Dahmen Twin Rivers USD As school districts strive to meet Adequate Yearly Progress targets, they struggle with two key issues: how to identify students who may not achieve “Proficiency” on state tests, and then how to improve their learning and outcomes.

Every state in the country now has a longitudinal data system extending beyond test scores, according to the Data Quality Campaign’s seventh annual Data for Action analysis. Thirty-six states—a giant leap from zero in 2005—have implemented the organization’s 10 Essential Elements of Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems. While the results are promising, Aimee Guidera, executive director of DQC, warns that building the data system isn’t enough.

In 2004, Deborah Verstegen, professor of education finance, policy and leadership at the College of Education at the University of Reno, wanted to create a vast library of data that, until now, didn’t exist: state-by-state school finance formula figures. “The search for the best model to use in funding education is a perennial concern and interest,” she says.

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