Building a Data Culture in Schools: Data Access is a Critical Component

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.

New Version of Application Express

Application Express

Oracle has released an update (version 18.1) for its Application Express (ApEx) which is a web-based application development tool. ApEx is a rapid development tool which can be used to create a wide variety of web-based productivity applications. Data Smart LLC uses reporting and charting development environment to create its longitudinal data marts. Due to the flexibility of ApEx it can be used to develop custom applications, report pages and all sorts of charts.

Charting Capabilities

There are many charting possibilities for data in APEX. The list is too long to print here, so look at this website which has a sampling of the types of charts available.

A feature of these charts is the ability to filter the data by using drop-down select parameters.

Reporting Capabilities

Reports which have most of the features of Excel are a standard method for presenting data in the Data Smart LLC data mart.  Tables are created in “interactive reports” and then the user can manipulate the data to provide just what is needed.

See for a description of Application Express or to “test drive” your own ApEx workspace.

APEX Applications

Data Smart LLC also creates applications for tracking daily student behavior, student performance on instruction record, collaborative meeting notes, and curriculum pacing guides to name a few.  The NC Department of Public Instruction uses APEX for managing testing irregularity reporting.     

Learn More

If you would like to learn more about how you can have a trained ApEx developer build and host a data system and other productivity applications contact