90712 Data Driven Reporting and Decison Support

Competency learning funding to complement seat time system;

Data driven reporting and decision support;

Broadband use by everyone;

Teacher transformation for the digital age;

Global digital curriculum access with effective application.

The lack of detailed current data is a major aspect of the failure of legacy education to meet current societal needs. Data are required for information and information is required for knowledge. If the teacher-student nexus is to succeed in their learning task they must have a continuous stream of real time data during the learning process. As these data are crafted into information the teacher-student can make knowledgeable decisions about coaching, modifying and enhancing the individualized learning process.

Student Centered: The most critical data are generated by formative assessments of student progress through the curriculum. These data flow from teacher observations, frequent paper-pencil tests and automated feedback from sophisticated digital curriculum. The first is labor intensive and is limited to an average of one minute per school day. The second has a delayed feedback of hours to weeks. The third is timely, detailed and most effective in accelerating individual student academic performance.

Administration Centered: Data from periodic summative assessments of students are used by the schools, districts and the State to assess progress and support decisions. Other system wide data are collected on inputs to education. Over the past several years there has been significant work by the Governor’s P20 Council’s Data and Graduation Committee and the Arizona Department of Education on what data need to be collected and used within their evolving statewide system. A longitudinal data assessment on individual post high school” achievement must be included if the data system is to support long range decisions.

A national association, the Data Quality Campaign, has developed specifications for longitudinal data systems. The association recommends tracking student progress over time, from prekindergarten through 12th grade and into postsecondary education. Six states have adopted all 10 of their Essential Elements for States: www.dataqualitycampaign.org. Arizona has implemented all but 5, 6 and 7. The Essential Elements for States are:

  1. Statewide Student Identifier
  2. Student-Level Enrollment Data
  3. Student-Level Test Data
  4. Information on Untested Students
  5. Statewide Teacher Identifier with a Teacher-Student Match
  6. Student-Level Course Completion (Transcript) Data
  7. Student-Level SAT, ACT, and Advanced Placement Exam Data
  8. Student-Level Graduation and Dropout Data
  9. Ability to Match Student-Level P-12 and Higher Education Data
  10. A State Data Audit System.

For over a decade the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) has been working on developing this type of data system. The current efforts are focused on the 10 Essential Elements. The resulting operational systems include the Data Warehouse and the Student Accountability Information System (SAIS).

The current development phase that includes expanding to the full set of 10 Essential Elements is expected to be completed by the end of 2010. Large districts have the staff and data facilities to connect directly with the ADE data system. For smaller districts the ADE has developed a web-centric system that connects though a “cloud service” with an application the ADE provides to these districts.

A decision support system of this complexity and magnitude – with over a million customers – must be continually revised and periodically rewritten. There are a host of new data demands and advancements in data technologies that assure cost saving efficiencies. Typical new data demands include: new district information, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (stimulus funds), student-teacher connection, Title 1 with 70 new data elements, and the America Competes Act, which requires significant changes in the SAIS decision support system.

There are three levels of need for data driven decision support systems: state, district-school and teacher-student. These levels have differing specific needs. Some needs are served by contained district-level systems, and others require integration into the state wide system. The State and district-school levels are mainly administrative systems. The teacher-student level systems mainly comprise learning support. Not only must the development and installation of the decision support systems be addressed at all three levels, but technical development and support and user training must be given equal attention. Therefore the following next steps are necessary.

  1. Produce enabling legislation and multiyear funding for the ADE to plan, develop and implement the next generation administrative data driven decision support system. ADE has served as and should continue to serve as the lead entity for the state-wide system development.
  2. Produce enabling legislation and multiyear funding for all Arizona school districts to plan, develop and implement their next generation district data driven decision support systems. They will be responsible both for their district and school needs. They will provide the interface and on-line data transfer to/from ADE and to/from their schools and classrooms.
  3. Produce enabling legislation and multiyear funding for all Arizona schools and school districts, and the ADE to plan, develop and implement the next generation data driven decision support system for classroom learning support. The ADE will be responsible for assessing the most beneficial classroom formative assessment data systems and supporting the districts in their implementation and training of teachers for their use. The districts and schools will be responsible for implementing effective systems for all teachers and students.
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