Nearly all superintendents agree that data about students’ academic progress is critical to get kids back on track after the pandemic.

With better data, these 12 things would improve, supes say


Nearly all superintendents agree that data about students’ academic progress is critical to get kids back on track after the pandemic

Key points:

Data access is critical when educators need to make informed decisions about curriculum, assessments, academic and social-emotional interventions, and more. So how are superintendents using data–and can they access it quickly and effectively in order to use it?

A national poll from the Data Quality Campaign and AASA, The School Superintendents Association surveyed district superintendents to find out they use data to support their students and schools.

Data is an important part of superintendents’ decision-making and it provides insights about student and school performance. Data gives school and district leaders confidence that students are on track for success.

Still, despite their current data-informed insights, superintendents say they want access to more data.

Here are some top lessons from that poll:

1. Ninety-eight percent of superintendents say they would be more confident in their abilities to make decisions for their district if they had better access to information.

2. Ninety-nine percent of superintendents feel that state data could be more useful. This type of state data could be made more useful with tools to help superintendents
act on the information and more training and ongoing support for analyzing, reporting, and communicating the data.

3. Ninety-three percent of superintendents say they have started collecting new data during the pandemic, and nearly all (94 percent) who have initiated new data collection agree: the new data is giving them useful information and insights.

4. Ninety-two percent of superintendents agree that data about students’ learning and academic progress is an important part of getting kids back on track after the pandemic.

5. Eighty-seven percent say they can find all of the data that they need to understand whether or not their school is effectively preparing students for next steps. Twelve percent have only an anecdotal understanding of what happened to some students after they left.

6. Superintendents are using data to make changes and share information with communities. Nearly all report using disaggregated data in some way–95 percent use disaggregated data at least once during the year, and 25 percent use disaggregated data once a week or more.

7. Superintendents are using disaggregated data to identify systemwide gaps in student performance (53 percent), to identify schools and school leaders in need of support (52 percent), to evaluate teaching and inform professional development, to monitor progress toward state and federal requirements (49 percent), and to share information with families and the community (43 percent).

8. Ninety-four percent trust that the data their state provides accurately reflects their school’s performance. They use data from their state’s summative assessments in the following ways: to determine with the leadership team what needs to change or improve in their district (66 percent), to inform conversations with their school board (60 percent), to share information with parents and the community (56 percent), and to talk to their principals about their schools (53 percent).

9. Superintendents say they do believe state data could be more useful–99 percent feel this way. In particular, changes that would make data more useful include more useful tools or technology that let them see patterns and changes in their data, data linked across agencies, and more training and ongoing support about how to interpret and use data well.

10. One in four superintendents are still looking for greater access to data. More than half of this group want data from their state on the outcomes of their district’s students after they leave high school.

11. Ninety-one percent of superintendents believe different public agencies should securely share information with each other about students and their families to coordinate services and resources and help support families.

12. Eighty-five percent of superintendents believe schools should securely share information about a student’s academic needs with trusted organizations outside of school.

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Laura Ascione
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