The U.S. Department of Education recently released a report, “Use of Education Data at the Local Level: From Accountability to Instructional Improvement," detailing the value that educational data systems can bring to school districts, by providing teachers with timely, relevant information about student performance. Despite this finding, the report notes that only a small minority of districts and schools have made data use a regular part of teachers’ practice.
In order to receive grants from the federal Race to the Top Fund, states must advance reforms in four key areas, one of which is “building data systems that measure student growth and success, and inform teachers and principals about how they can improve instruction." Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s DataDirector digital solution is one approach that some California districts are using to demonstrate transparency of reporting - and potentially improve districts’ chances of gaining stimulus funding. Educators create reports that help identify patterns and needs, core program success, and identify areas where professional development or interventions are needed.
Firebaugh Las Deltas Unified School District
When the Firebaugh Las Deltas Unified School District became aware that its student information system was insufficient for its needs, it worked with DataDirector staff to implement a cross-platform data management and assessments solution. Teachers were then able to access data in chart and graph form in the classroom. And, it allowed teachers to drill into subgroups and identify who was doing well - and who was at risk - based on test scores.
Since the change, overall scores in the district steadily increasing and two schools have been designated Program Improvement schools. One has already transitioned to “adequate yearly progress.”
“The instant feedback and the teachers’ comfort level with DataDirector have made all the difference, said Ted McDaniel, Director of Technology for the school district. “We used to see a lot of teaching happening, but not always learning. Now our teachers don���t have to wait weeks to see how the kids are doing. They can adjust rapidly, and learning improves right away.”