More training is key to better school data use

  • Do reports meet stakeholders’ needs?
  • How can the state ensure that local stakeholders have access to the data they need?
  • Are all stakeholders aware of the data and reports that are available?

Building capacity to use data

According to the report, only four states (Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Ohio) have met the criteria to build the capacity of all stakeholders to use longitudinal data.

One challenge is that only 16 states require data literacy for both educator certification and education preparation program approval.

Also, there is no consensus around the definition of data literacy, and states are not clear about how to differentiate data literacy among various types of educators.

And while addressing data literacy “is critical,” says the report, “conditions in schools and districts are generally not conducive to the effective use of data (e.g. principal support for data-informed decision-making, and sufficient time in the school day for collaboration around data).”

Finally, only eight states share teacher performance data with educator preparation programs, and 28 states do not share any data about educators with educators preparation programs.

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

  • What is the quality of the training that the state is providing around effective data use?
  • What evidence shows the impact of educators’ data use in the classroom on student achievement?
  • What is the state doing to ensure enabling conditions to promote the use of data, include but not limited to, changing the use of time and how educators work together to process and use data, identifying who has the authority to act on the data analysis, and building trust and a safe environment in which the data can be discussed and shared honestly, without fear of being blamed or shamed?

“The hardest work remains,” concludes the report, “because changing the culture in education is more difficult than building data systems. One thing is certain: we will not change the culture of education data use by focusing solely on systems or even policy. It is only by strengthening our focus on people and what they need that we will reach our goal of improving outcomes for the most important stakeholder: students.”

Many positive examples of state data achievement can be found in the report, as well as definitions of the different types of data, policy suggestions, and thought-leader questions for states.

Meris Stansbury

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