Using education data effectively requires measuring what matters, being transparent, and protecting privacy, a report from the Data Quality Campaign finds.
The report, Time to Act: Making Data Work for Students (20 pages, PDF), argues that the robust data provisions provided by the Every Student Succeeds Act should enable every student to benefit from personalized learning that meets his or her individual needs. With timely, useful information about their progress, students can assess what they need to do to stay on track for success in college and beyond; parents can ensure that schools are responsive to their child's needs and take advantage of learning and enrichment programs; teachers can gain a more complete picture of student progress and access the tools they need to tailor their lessons; school leaders can better target resources to support student learning; and afterschool programs can better bridge the gap between learning in and out of school.
To that end, the report urges state policy makers to set clear student performance measures and develop indicators based on longitudinal data across agencies; ensure that parents, educators, educational partners, and students have the access and support they need to take action informed by data; ensure that every community understands how its schools and students are doing, as well as how data is used and protected; and protect the privacy, confidentiality, and security of student and teacher data. The study also recommends that states increase investments in data infrastructure; strive for efficiency and cost-effectiveness in data collection; provide data training and tools to districts; and scale successful models across the state to ensure that data is being used to support student learning regardless of where students live.
"When those closest to students have the right data, at the right time, in the right format, with the training and tools to use it well, students thrive," said Aimee Rogstad Guidera, president and CEO of DQC. "Now that we have the information to support every student in the nation, we must act to ensure no student falls off the path to success."