3 ways educational data helped this district improve outcomes

In the Wilson County School District, using educational data to inform our decisions has reinvented the way students learn, and it has given educators a newfound confidence in their teaching practices.

Last year, we were recognized by the state as an exemplary district, and we’ve achieved level five status, meaning our students are growing at a rate that’s two years beyond what’s expected.

We’ve achieved these results through the hard work of our faculty—and by using educational data to support how we instruct and evaluate our students. Other district leaders hoping to achieve similar results can follow three essential steps to creating a data-centric culture.…Read More

Top 10 ed-tech stories of 2013, No. 4: Big Data

eSchool News counts down the ten most significant developments in educational technology during the past year. No. 4 tracks Big Data’s movements.

dataIn school systems from coast to coast, tech-savvy educators experimented with augmented reality, educational gaming, and other techniques designed to enhance teaching and learning.

These are only some of the key ed-tech developments affecting K-12 schools in the past year—and we’ve got a full recap for you.

Here, the editors of eSchool News highlight what we think are the 10 most significant ed-tech stories of 2013.…Read More

Major ed data report reveals states’ improvements

Data For Action 2013 shows how states are beginning to make more data-informed actions

data-campaignStates have made immense progress in collecting student data, communicating the importance of using such data, and in emphasizing the need to keep student information safe and secure, according to the ninth annual Data for Action (DFA) report from the Data Quality Campaign (DQC).

This year’s report “highlights, yet again, the incredible leadership that states are demonstrating… [states are] really making progress on using data for continuous improvement,” said Aimee Guidera, DQC founder and executive director.

The biggest change evident in this year’s report is states’ focus on getting appropriate access of the correct data to the right people, at the right time, with the end goal of improving student achievement, Guidera said.…Read More

Reports highlight need for data mobility

Momentum for transferable student data is growing.

Educational data must follow students as they cross state lines, and policy makers must be equipped with the tools needed to ensure that teachers, students, and parents have access to this important information, according to two reports released by the Data Quality Campaign (DQC).

One such tool is an open-source system that lets educators pull and use data from a range of existing sources, created with support from the Dell Foundation. Another is an interstate data exchange system being used by four states.

The DQC defines student data as more than test scores—it includes attendance, course-taking, teacher information, and financial information. Data also includes any information that stakeholders need to make decisions, and that often means more than state data. Of equal importance are prekindergarten data and data from post-secondary education and the workforce.…Read More

States make gains in building data systems

States have improved, but can do more, when it comes to using student data in all aspects of education.

States have made unprecedented progress collecting longitudinal data in education, but they have not taken action to ensure data are used to improve student achievement, according to the Data Quality Campaign’s (DQC) sixth annual state analysis, Data for Action 2010, which tracks states’ progress toward a set of goals that will help states use educational data to the fullest.

When the DQC launched in 2005, no state had all 10 Essential Elements of Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems. Now, 24 states report they have implemented all 10 elements, and every state has committed to implement them by September 2011. States that implement the 10 elements have the necessary information to understand what works in education and can allocate scarce resources accordingly to improve student achievement.

Those 10 elements are:…Read More

State data systems present privacy concerns

Creators of state data systems are trying to find the right balance between obtaining useful information and respecting data privacy.

Data privacy is a top concern for stakeholders when it comes to using educational data to drive student achievement and school improvement—and an Oct. 21 webinar from the Data Quality Campaign revealed that IT staff are trying hard to uphold data privacy while at the same time implementing valuable state data systems.

“We have been frankly paranoid about taking Social Security numbers and matching them to different data sets to a point where we can create a worker education record, because when you do that … you can actually find out quite a bit about somebody,” said Carol Rogers, deputy director of the Indiana Business Research Center.

But concerns about access to sensitive information aside, the educational data obtained through such a tracking system are valuable. “I don’t care. I want the results of the data,” said Rogers.…Read More

University of Texas completes $32M data center

The University of Texas has completed a new $32 million data center meant to meet the school’s growing information technology needs, the Austin Business Journal reports. The new University Data Center includes about 4,700 square feet of space for computing equipment and one gigbit-per-second and 10 Gbps network connections. The university is consolidating its technology equipment and customer services department to center, freeing up space in academic buildings. The facility also increases the physical and information security of IT resources and frees up financial resources by making “the dollars allocated to information technology go further.” The UDC embraces the university’s green principles by putting a strong focus on the energy efficiency and cooling–the two most critical resources for a data center…

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