A new report is analyzing and demonstrating the progress being made as more states continue to make decisions based on the use of education-related data.
The annual report, Data for Action 2014, looks at a series of actions recommended by the Data Quality Campaign for states to utilize to improve student learning. This year saw Kentucky become the third state to complete all of the recommended actions. Arkansas and Delaware completed all 10 last year.
The data governance board in Kentucky looks at the recommendations every year and has focused on the ones it has not completed.
“Really it was just focused effort on our part to make sure that all of these pieces were able to come together this year,” said Kate Akers, deputy executive director of the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics.
It was that inter-agency collaboration combined with sustained leadership that allowed the state to perform so highly, according to Aimee Guidera, executive director of the Data Quality Campaign.
This year’s participants included the governor’s offices in 46 states as well as the District of Columbia, with 17 states completing eight or nine of the actions. Those states who decided to not participate include California, New Jersey, Oregon and South Dakota.
The study has seen the most state growth over the last year in providing consistent support for longitudinal data systems (action 2) and in helping teachers and school leaders learn to access, use and integrate the data into instructional practices (action 9).
“What this means is that states are finding value in their data systems, and they’re putting their money where their mouth is and where the value is,” Guidera said, adding that if educators don’t know how to effectively tap into the learning data that they have, then the states’ efforts are for naught, she said.
Action 9 has seen so much growth as states become more able to share teacher performance data with in-state educator prep programs, which in turns allows for more higher requirements from preservice teachers to meet data literacy standards.
Although building state data repositories (action 4) and creating reports with longitudinal statistics to guide system-level change (action 7) have the support of almost every state, the actions of providing timely, role-based access to data (action 5) and action 9 have proved the most difficult for states, possibly because they are the two that require the most cultural change.
Alabama was the last participant to complete action 4, and only Mississippi and New York still need to complete action 7.
The report hopes to help all educators better understand and use education data, including the value of that data – why it matters and how it can best be used to help students become more successful in their student lives as well as in their future.