For the first time, two states, Arkansas and Delaware, have met all 10 state actions identified by the Data Quality Campaign (DQC)—a nonprofit, nonpartisan, national advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.—as supporting effective data use in our nation’s schools.
Launched in 2005 by 10 founding partners, DQC leads a partnership of nearly 100 organizations committed to realizing the vision of an education system in which all stakeholders—from parents to policymakers—are empowered with high-quality data from the early childhood, K–12, postsecondary, and workforce systems to make decisions that ensure every student graduates high school prepared for success in college and the workplace. The Data Quality Campaign’s recommended state actions include:
- Link state K-12 data systems with early learning, postsecondary, workforce, and other crucial state agency data systems.
- Create stable, sustainable support for longitudinal data systems.
- Develop governance structures to guide data collection and use.
- Build state data repositories.
- Provide timely, role-based access to data while protecting privacy.
- Create progress reports with student-level data for educators, students, and parents.
- Create reports with longitudinal statistics to guide system-level change.
- Develop a purposeful research agenda.
- Implement policies and promote practices to build educators’ capacity to use data.
- Promote strategies to raise awareness of available data.
In the foreword of the organization’s most recent annual report, Aimee Rogstad Guidera, founder and executive director of Data Quality Campaign, acknowledged Delaware and Arkansas for their achievements, saying, “This accomplishment is a testament to the consistent and collaborative leadership that has been a hallmark of how these states have responded to the needs of their citizens and have thus made effective data use a reality.”
Both states use SunGard K-12 Education’s solution for managing their student information. eSchoolPLUS is a recognized, industry-leading student information management system that helps educators manage day-to-day student administration, monitor student performance, and facilitate communications between district staff, parents, and students. It has received Gartner’s highest possible rating, was named to District Administration’s Top 100 products list, and was a finalist in the CODiE Award Program.
Arkansas has also implemented eFinancePLUS, which manages critical financial, procurement, payroll, and personnel functions. Delaware has also implemented IEPPLUS for managing special education and PerformancePLUS for tracking student performance and building local assessments.
The Data Quality Campaign’s report highlighted Arkansas Department of Education's ADE Data Center (adedata.arkansas.gov) as a best practice. Maintained by the Division of Research and Technology, the ADE Data Center is an online collection of data systems, tools, and reports for educators, policymakers, teachers, parents, school districts, and others.
Cody Decker, assistant commissioner and chief information officer of Arkansas Department of Education’s Division of Research and Technology, believes the ADE Data Center plays a vital role in supporting the state’s commitment to use data as a flashlight for illuminating opportunities to enhance teaching and learning while preserving and protecting the confidentiality of protected student information.
“Data-informed decision making is not just a buzzword in Arkansas. In the classroom and all levels of government, decisions can be better informed with complete, correct, and timely data that is provided to educational stakeholders in a manner that is both secure and compliant with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA),” Decker says. “Our missions are to use data to inform policy, to equip educators, and to protect and preserve confidential student data. The ADE Data Center allows us to accomplish that vision through one central location that provides secure access to academic data for educators.”
Please CLICK HERE to read a new case study about the ADE Data Center.
Pat Bush, the Delaware Department of Education’s director of technology resources and data development, says Delaware's efforts to build the infrastructure necessary to sustain a data-driven culture are made easier because all school districts in the state are using the same data systems.
“It’s much easier to take a look at data quality when you’re looking at a singular implementation system versus multiple disparate data entry points,” he explains. “We don’t have to train our staff on multiple ways to input and manage data. Our primary data input strategy is through the eSchoolPLUS student information system, which really is the single source of truth for all the districts and charters. I believe the fact that we have a single student information system across the state is probably one of the strongest pieces of infrastructure and enterprise architecture that we could have implemented.”
With data at the fingertips of all educational stakeholders, Atnre Alleyne, data strategist with the Harvard Strategic Data Project who joined the Delaware Department of Education in 2012, says that Delaware been asking new questions and examining things that traditionally haven’t been looked at in the education sector. “In Delaware, we have a commitment not only to do sophisticated analyses, but we know that the results will drive action at the state level,” says Alleyne.
To read more about Delaware’s recent student achievement initiatives, please CLICK HERE.