When teachers are empowered with data, students do better. We’ve got that part, right? But how do we get there? How do we help teachers wade through the mountains of data they already have, and use it to inform instruction? There are many things that need to be in place to support teacher data use—principal leadership, resources, time, peer support, and more—state policy has a role to play in helping set the framework for the factors that contribute to teacher data use.
One avenue states have at their disposal to support teachers in using data is licensure policy. Licensure policies are meant to provide teacher preparation programs with guidance on what teachers need to be qualified to teach when they graduate. Many states are starting to think about how to craft licensure policies in new ways to promote the skills that teachers need in order to thrive in classrooms that have diverse learners and student needs. Included in those skills should be effective data use.
In partnership with more than 20 national partners, we created a list of 10 skills associated with effective data use that states can embed in their licensure policies. Our new roadmap, out today, describes those skills in detail and discusses why they are critical to effective teaching. Check it out and let us know in the comments why you think these skills are important to effective teaching.
This blog was written in conjunction by Rachel Anderson and Brennan Parton.
We just spent three days talking #eddata among the palm trees! Jealous? You should be. In addition to the sunny California weather, we heard earnest conversations among state education data leaders about making sure that data are quality, used to improve instruction, and, critically, kept private and secure. These were all themes this week as state education data leaders and experts gathered at CCSSO’s Education Information Management Advisory Consortium (EIMAC) conference to share best practices, ideas, and lessons learned.
It was clearer to us than ever before that nationwide, state data and policy leaders believe in the power —really the necessity—of data to make profound change for schools and students. Topics discussed at the conference ranged from boosting high school graduation rates to ensuring transparency with the public about the value of data, to providing high-quality classroom and curriculum resources for teachers. However, across all of these conversations, student privacy and the importance of safeguarding education data has been paramount.
One great example is work that Massachusetts (shout-out to Rachel’s home state!) is doing on its Edwin student data and resource platform. The session at EIMAC focused on the initiative’s work to personalize learning, improve instruction, and inspire teachers. But the conversation also touched on the importance of maintaining data quality and charging districts with assigning role-based access to the student data in the system. Experts stressed building data protections into the inception of new programs and apps and building public trust around the safeguarding of data. It was a strong reminder that secure data is quality data.
Conference sessions also highlighted a number of resources addressing the critical role of data privacy in effective data use. In one session, attendees consulted a number of resources from the US Department of Education’s Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), including a new resource explaining the exceptions outlined under FERPA and checklists and best practices for states on safeguarding student privacy. Another session shared a toolkit prepared by the SIF Association on using data to help students make meaningful growth within the context of using data responsibly and safeguarding student privacy.
We couldn’t have been happier to spend a couple of days in a warmer part of the country—perhaps the only people happier than us were those from Wisconsin and Minnesota! But really the best part was hearing the profound commitment of state chief information officers and other data leaders across the country to supporting each and every student while safeguarding their privacy. If the innovation, energy, and commitment to the ethical use of data evident at the conference are any indication, there are sure to be great education data innovations continuing to emerge within states to improve student success without sacrificing privacy.