Making the Most of Real-Time Data

from Dr. Steven Guttentag
Chief Education Officer at Connections Academy

With schools spread across the country and instruction happening around the clock at literally thousands of kitchen tables every day of the year, it is not easy to stay on top of student performance and progress. Having access to analytical tools that provide real-time visibility into student, class and school performance is essential. Our strategy has been to start with key performance metrics (e.g. disenrollment rates and reasons, attendance, test scores, grades…) and then build online reports around these metrics. We have found that less is often more as busy teachers, principals and administrators do not have time to sift through pages of data. They need the most important data in a format that is easy to understand and to manipulate. This first level of data may not answer all the questions, but it should identify a potential problem. Using this information our teachers and principals can react proactively, reaching out to students, parents or staff to provide assistance before the situation becomes serious. Because we have remained abreast of student performance and progress throughout the year, when standardized test results are published on state websites in the spring, they should not be a surprise to anyone in our schools.