States make strides in collecting education data

States are implementing robust data systems that could inform tough education decisions, but they need to do more with the data they collect, the Data Quality Campaign says.

Although states have made strong progress increasing their capacity to build and use longitudinal data systems, they aren’t yet helping educators, parents, and other stakeholders use the data to inform decisions to improve student achievement, according to the Data Quality Campaign’s seventh annual state analysis, Data for Action 2011.

More states than ever—36, up from zero in 2005 and 25 states in 2010—have implemented all of DQC’s 10 Essential Elements of Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, and 49 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have implemented eight or more. This means that, without exception, every state in the country has robust longitudinal data extending beyond test scores that could inform today’s toughest education decisions.

Those 10 elements include:…Read More

Data project will track North Dakota students’ progress

North Dakota is developing a statewide data project to track student progress in school and provide information about whether young people are learning skills that the job market demands, BusinessWeek reports. The federal government has pushed states to implement their own “longitudinal data systems” to provide information about each student’s progress from kindergarten until they finish high school. The systems also could be used to track students’ college work. North Dakota has already met many of the initiative’s goals, according to the Data Quality Campaign, a nonprofit group that monitors how information is used to track student achievement. Steve Snow, the management systems information director for North Dakota’s Department of Public Instruction, and Lisa Feldner, director of the state Information Technology Department, said schools will use the information to spot instances where student achievement might be lagging, or where instruction could be improved. “They can take a look and see how many students are progressing into higher education … and say, ‘Did we prepare them appropriately?'” Feldner said. “They can look at dropout rates and ask, ‘Why are students dropping out?’ They can look at remedial rates and ask, ‘Why did (students) require remediation?'” The Department of Public Instruction obtained a $6.9 million federal grant to finish implementing the program, Feldner told a legislative committee that is monitoring the project, and he hopes the project will be mostly completed in three years…

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