Building a Data Culture in Schools: Data Access is a Critical Component
There have been hundreds of articles, blog postings and presentations on using data in schools. The information presented focuses on topics such as the inquiry cycle using data, data teams, and leadership and teacher skills for understanding data. A critical aspect of this data use process is getting the data needed to make informed decisions. Issues surrounding data availability include
1 Access in a secure user-friendly format,
2. timeliness of receiving the data, such as growth data being available which is completed months after testing is scored and the school year has started in the fall, and
3. access to interpretation protocols.
The first critical issue is having data in a user-friendly format. Many schools provide the printouts from the scoring software with the student scores. This report requires the teacher to look up previous scores and make a comparison to determine if a student did better than the previous year. After all of the testing is completed in the district, the testing office can build spreadsheets of student scores and provide this information to the administrator. However, to be useful, the data needs to be matched to each student’s previous scores to put some sort of context to the information.
Data systems range in size and price to full data warehouse systems. These systems cost over $100,000 and require someone to manage and maintain the system. Another option is a data system for collecting and reporting the data. These systems can be secured at a cost of about $3 to 8 dollar range per ADM. However, these data systems may not be custom created and may not offer the data analysis support a school district may need.
If you would like assistance in selecting or building your own data system, contact Data Smart LLC.