More training is key to better school data use

“These three conditions are necessary but insufficient to ensure a culture of effective data use,” explains the report. “Local conditions are equally important to realizing this culture change … [and states must ensure] that stakeholders have the time to review data and the authority to act on them.”

Linking P-20W data

Only six states (Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Maine, Oregon, and Texas) have met the criteria to link state longitudinal data systems across the P-20W pipeline and across state agencies, the report notes.

One challenge in completing this goal is that more cross-agency data governance bodies are currently authorized to make decisions based on voluntary or charter agreements than on legislation or executive order, which “hinders sustainability and continuity over time,” says the report.

Another challenge is that P-20W governance bodies in 22 states are not chaired by policy makers, making it difficult to garner the political will necessary to work across agencies.

Another challenge is linking K-12 data systems to special education and Head Start/Early Start programs. What’s more, match rates between K-12 and postsecondary data are below 95 percent, and only 14 states link K-12 and workforce data systems.

However, the report highlights some key questions to ensure effective data use:

  • What is the quality of the data being shares across state agencies?
  • Did the governance bodies start their data planning efforts with the most pressing questions from the state’s stakeholders?
  • Have the data governance bodies developed all of the policies and procedures they need to guide data collection, sharing, and use?

Ensuring data access

Only five states (Arkansas, D.C., Delaware, Indiana, and New Hampshire) have met the criteria to ensure that data can be accessed, analyzed, and used by stakeholders.

One challenge to meeting this goal is that aggregate reports do not include individual student information. Also, 47 states produce high school feedback reports, but only 38 states make these reports publicly available; and states do not have benchmarks for report quality, and many reports are produced to meet compliance, rather than stakeholder, needs.

Finally, only nine states are ensuring access to student-level data for parents, as well as teachers and counselors; and many states are unclear about their role in ensuring that local stakeholders have access to data.

The report highlights these key questions to ensure effective data use:

Meris Stansbury

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