Why school data matters

10 Mar 2010

By Ken McElrath

According to a the U.S. Department of Education, school districts are looking for a way to effectively link their many, separate data systems.

The report, issued in January 2010, claims there is no single-solution data system and there is no simple recipe for effective system implementation.

Hmm. Is this true?

While I agree that no one system can do everything, perhaps the most important thing is to connect the most important data first. Keep the main things the main things.

First, a shameless plug. Skoodat has built a completely integrated data management and reporting platform specifically for education to solve the big data problems.

Second, according to the study, less than half of U.S. school districts have data systems that link outcomes to continuous improvement processes. Only 42 percent generate reports showing student performance linked to participation in specific instructional programs, and just over a third can link student performance to teacher characteristics.

It seems to me that the DoE has already defined the "single recipe" that they claim does not exist. Districts who connect important data into meaningful reports tend to perform better, simply because they are focused on measuring what does and does not work, then making changes in real time.

You can read the complete findings in the attached report, Use of Education Data at the Local Level From Accountability to Instructional Improvement.

After you read the report, please call Skoodat. We're here to help any and all education organizations improve their efficiency, sustainability and results.

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