Last week DQC released its 10th annual report and analysis, Data for Action 2014: Paving the Path to Success. The report takes a nationwide look at where states stand in ensuring effective education data use in every classroom.
Here’s what some reporters across the nation have to say about DFA 2014:
“A national report shows Colorado is getting better at using data to improve student achievement. The report notes that Colorado now shares teacher performance information with educator preparation programs, providing crucial data to inform teacher training improvements.”
“The Data Quality Campaign says Kansas is now one of 19 states that securely links K–12 and work force data to improve students' progress as they move into careers. The report also says the state shares teacher performance information with educator preparation programs that help inform teacher training improvements.”
“Utah's use of data in monitoring and guiding student achievement made several improvements this year, earning the state an almost perfect score on a report by the Data Quality Campaign released Thursday.”
“This year in particular, states are realizing data's value in teacher education. In 2009 no states reported having policies and practices to build teacher data literacy skills, which train teachers to use data to improve teaching and learning. Fast-forward to today, 18 states are doing just that.”
“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.”
“All in all, Guidera credits many states for effecting a cultural shift within their educational bureaucracies to move their data policies beyond ‘a box-checking exercise’ and for beginning to treat student and school information as an asset that can help improve student performance throughout the grade school years and beyond.”
Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, introduced the Higher Education Affordability Act (HEAA) on Thursday, November 20th, which would reauthorize the Higher Education Act. An addition to the discussion draft released in June, the new bill would create a student unit record data system (SURDS).
SURDS would enable the US Department of Education (ED) to collect student-level data that are already collected and stored by institutions of higher education (IHEs) and states to answer important questions about postsecondary education. Although it is unlikely that Harkin’s HEAA will see a vote on the Senate floor before his retirement this December, it is important to examine the SURDS component, as it has strong implications for education data use at the postsecondary level and beyond. For a more general overview of HEAA, see our blog post on the original discussion draft released by Senator Harkin.
The bill explicitly states that SURDS will not replace the Integrated Postsecondary Data System (IPEDS) and that all IPEDS data collection will continue. However, the two systems will be “streamlined” to reduce reporting burden on states and IHEs. Relevant data collected through IPEDS would also be reported into SURDS. Existing data sources, including the National Student Loan Data System, will “prepopulate” SURDS to further minimize duplicative data collection, but under no circumstances will SURDS data be exported back into any of those data sources.
The bill also takes a number of steps which DQC has identified as strong policies for data security and privacy, including setting requirements for contracted services, strong governance practices, and making data policies publicly available.
Stay tuned for updates on HEA reauthorization and the future of SURDS.