States Step Forward to Act on Education Data

Top-level support for longitudinal data systems and policies has helped states make progress on recommended data actions.

by / November 20, 2014 0
Kentucky became the third state to finish all 10 data actions recommended by the Data Quality Campaign.

By Kittugwiki (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

An annual report highlights the progress states are making when it comes to making decisions with education data.

Data for Action 2014 measures states against 10 actions that the Data Quality Campaign recommends to improve student learning with data. This year, Kentucky became the third state to complete all of the actions, joining Arkansas and Delaware from last year.

Every year, the data governance board in Kentucky tackles the actions it didn't take the previous year. 

"Really it was just focused effort on our part to make sure that all of these pieces were able to come together this year," said Kate Akers, deputy executive director of the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics.

The sustained leadership and inter-agency collaboration in Kentucky have helped the state take its data game to the next level over the last number of years, said Aimee Guidera, executive director of the Data Quality Campaign. 

Overall, governor's offices in 46 states and the District of Columbia participated in the survey this year, with 17 states completing eight or nine of the actions. California, New Jersey, Oregon and South Dakota opted not to take the survey this time around.

Over the past three years, states have grown the most in providing consistent support for longitudinal data systems (action 2) and in helping teachers and school leaders learn how to access data, use it and integrate it into their instructional practice (action 9).

"What this means is that states are finding value in their data systems, and they're putting their money where their mouth is and where the value is," Guidera said, adding that if educators don't know how to effectively tap into the learning data that they have, then the states' efforts are for naught, she said.

States have been able to move forward with action 9 because more of them are sharing teacher performance data with in-state educator prep programs and requiring preservice teachers to meet data literacy standards.

While a few actions -- 5 and 9 -- have proven particularly tough for states because they require major culture changes, actions 4 and 7 have almost every state's support. Alabama is the only one left in the survey to finish action 4, which involves building state data repositories. And just Mississippi and New York have to finish action 7, which asks states to create reports that include longitudinal statistics that can be used to make changes at the system level. 

The table below shows the progress states have made on these 10 actions over the last three years. 

State Actions Number of States
  2011 2014
1. Link state K-12 data systems with early learning, postsecondary, workforce, and other critical state agency data systems 11 19
2. Create stable, sustainable support for longitudinal data systems 27 41
3. Develop governance structures to guide data collection and use 36 42
4. Build state data repositories 44 46
5. Provide timely, role-based access to data 2 11
6. Create progress reports with student-level data for educators, students and parents 29 35
7. Create reports with longitudinal statistics to guide system-level change 36 45
8. Develop a purposeful research agenda 31 41
9. Implement policies and promote practices to build educators' capacity to use data 3 18
10. Promote strategies to raise awareness of available data 23 33

This story was originally published by the Center for Digital Education.

Tanya Roscorla Former Managing Editor, CDE

Tanya Roscorla covered ed tech from 2009-2017.