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Danielle Evennou posted on 12/17/2014.

First Annual Conference on Big Data and Civil Rights

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The world of “big data” just got a little clearer thanks to the first annual conference on “Data & Civil Rights.” The meeting brought together leaders from the civil rights community, government, industry, and a variety of policy nerds from the criminal justice, education, employment, finance, health, and housing sectors. Hosted by the Data & Society Research Institute, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and New America’s Open Technology Institute, the conference provided a unique opportunity for attendees to form new connections and share ideas with individuals.

Though there’s no technical definition for the term “big data,” it’s used to describe the use of advanced technology to analyze huge data sets with great speed. Many education reformers see the confluence of student data, new processing tools, and the ability to more personalize student learning as a way to address disparities in student achievement. However, a big question in the world of big data is, Will the use of big data analytics further contribute to existing discrimination in our society?

According to experts, the answer will not be as easy as pressing a button.

Human understanding is critical to containing the adverse effects of big data analytics. Inferences about individuals, generated by big data analytics, are reliant upon the relevance and accuracy of the data being used as well as the structure of the algorithms developed to analyze the data. Such algorithms are developed by programmers who may have no sense of how their technical work can have an adverse effect on civil rights.

In addition to thinking about the future of big data, experts reflected on the historical use of data to discriminate. Speakers also noted the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board decision, which called attention to egregious disparities in education investments for students of color. Making financial data publicly available is one way data can be used to help identify disparities in educational settings so that they may be addressed. Check out DQC’s recent report Using Financial Data to Support Student Success.

Going forward, steps should be taken to ensure that data are only used to empower students and their families. Data should never be used to hurt students. Rather, when used effectively, education data may be used to help students reach their educational goals and continually succeed over the course of a lifetime.

This meeting marks the start of a very important conversation that will continue to evolve. To learn more, visit http://www.datacivilrights.org/

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Yasmin Fallahkhair posted on 12/16/2014.

New Book: How Do School Leaders Effectively Use Data to Improve Achievement?

What types of data are used by successful school leaders? What practices do these leaders take to ensure a data-driven environment? Why are some school leaders able to successfully integrate data into their instruction while others are not?

Researchers from Columbia University and the University of Texas at San Antonio recently collaborated on a new book, Using Data in Schools to Inform Leadership and Decision Making, to answer each of these questions and explore the use of data in schools and districts as useful information for leadership.

The authors do a great job of pointing out that data is not a magic word that immediately creates positive change the moment it is used by school leaders. Educators must understand how to collect, read, and analyze data to effectively integrate them into their instruction. One analogy the authors mentioned really stood out to me: Just as driving more miles to work does not cause a commute to improve, more data do not automatically cause improvement in student achievement. When school leaders increase the amount of data being collected without understanding how to effectively use them, educators find themselves drowning in data with no improved results in academic achievement.

The authors also drive home the point that increased capacity is necessary to make data-driven decisions, however it is not enough for instructional improvement. School leaders must create a climate of trust and focus on the evidence used to support instructional decisions. Administrators must engage faculty in dialogue to create a climate of learning for students and teachers, while setting the vision and mission of the school as well. Leaders must be focused on improving the culture, dialogue, and capacity around data literacy within the school rather than simply on increasing test scores.

The book drives home the necessary elements in creating a successful and data-driven school. Data will not lead to the intended improvements envisioned by school leaders unless a culture of literacy, collaboration, and learning is developed first. 

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In 2013 the Petworth neighborhood campus of Center City Public Charter Schools posted the biggest English Language Learner (ELL) achievement gains in Washington, DC. Through the use of data, teachers and other education leaders in the school found patterns that improved instruction by addressing the unique needs of each student.


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Principals Say Data Use Is the Most Important Professional Skill

Amilcar Guzman posted on 3/4/2013


Timely Information Crucial to Helping At-Risk Students

Amilcar Guzman posted on 3/1/2013


New Fact Sheet on Data to Prepare Students for Jobs

Lisa Sparrow posted on 2/26/2013


Dream a Data Dream: Why We Need Longitudinal Data

Alexandria Barkmeier posted on 2/25/2013


Keeping Privacy Primary while Supporting Effective Data Use

Guest posted on 2/21/2013


Top Nine Tips for Communicating Education

Jessica Lyons posted on 2/20/2013


DATA FLASH: February 20, 2013

Guest posted on 2/19/2013


Communicating the College- and Career-Ready Agenda

Aimee Guidera posted on 2/13/2013


Lighting a Candle for Data Is Not Enough

Ashleigh Chin posted on 2/11/2013


My Search for 52 State Report Cards

Elizabeth Laird posted on 2/8/2013


David Brooks on Data: What It Means for Education

Amilcar Guzman posted on 2/7/2013


The Drive for Online Learning in Today’s Schools

Guest posted on 2/6/2013


Using Data to Improve State Policies about Principalship

Jessica Lyons posted on 2/5/2013


Wearing My Teacher Hat and My National Policy Hat

Guest posted on 2/1/2013


Early Warning Data Helping At-Risk Students in Massachusetts

Brennan Parton posted on 1/30/2013


10 New Tools for Talking about Education Data with Anyone

Aimee Guidera posted on 1/29/2013


Data Are Critical to Meeting Texas’s College- and Career-Readiness Goals

Jessica Lyons posted on 1/25/2013


DATA FLASH: January 25, 2013

Guest posted on 1/25/2013


Students Need the Right Information to Make Informed College Choices

Elizabeth Dabney posted on 1/24/2013


Linking, and Matching, and Sharing, Oh My! (Part 3)

Elizabeth Dabney posted on 1/23/2013


Linking, and Matching, and Sharing, Oh My! (Part 2)

Elizabeth Dabney posted on 1/22/2013


Linking, and Matching, and Sharing, Oh My! (Part 1)

Guest posted on 1/17/2013


Using Data to Grow a College-Going Culture at Liberty High School

Aimee Guidera posted on 1/16/2013


DQC Applauds Congress for FERPA Clarification Supporting Better Outcomes for Foster Children

Amilcar Guzman posted on 1/14/2013


High School Feedback DFA2012 Fact Sheet Released Today

Jessica Lyons posted on 1/11/2013


DATA FLASH: January 11, 2013

Brennan Parton posted on 1/9/2013


Teachers Should Not Have to Wing It When It Comes to Data

Brennan Parton posted on 1/7/2013


MYTH BUSTER: Think Parents Have the Info They Need about Their Students? Think Again.

Jessica Lyons posted on 12/21/2012


DATA FLASH: December 21, 2012

Brennan Parton posted on 12/21/2012


Five Pressing Challenges to Effective Data Use: Challenge Five

Brennan Parton posted on 12/20/2012


Five Pressing Challenges to Effective Data Use: Challenge Four

Guest posted on 12/20/2012


Data Shows the Importance of Early Education

Brennan Parton posted on 12/19/2012


Five Pressing Challenges to Effective Data Use: Challenge Three

Brennan Parton posted on 12/18/2012


Five Pressing Challenges to Effective Data Use: Challenge Two

Brennan Parton posted on 12/17/2012


Five Pressing Challenges to Effective Data Use: Challenge One

Guest posted on 12/14/2012


Early Warning System Reduces Dropouts in Alabama District

Rebecca Shah posted on 12/12/2012


Unpacking “P–20W Data Governance”

Amilcar Guzman posted on 12/9/2012


Early Warning Systems DFA2012 Fact Sheet Released Today

Guest posted on 12/7/2012


Turning Data into Information and Action at the Local Level

Jessica Lyons posted on 12/6/2012


Where Does Education Data Sit at the Dinner Table?

Elizabeth Laird posted on 12/4/2012


NEW REPORTS: DQC’s Breaking Down State Silos Series

Amilcar Guzman posted on 12/3/2012


Improving College Choice DFA2012 Fact Sheet Released Today

Jessica Lyons posted on 11/30/2012


DATA FLASH: November 30, 2012

Aimee Guidera posted on 11/30/2012


DQC's Aimee Guidera on ED Grad Rates Release

Bob Swiggum posted on 11/29/2012


State Data Systems Make a Difference for Students

Amilcar Guzman posted on 11/27/2012


ED Releases Historic Graduation Rates

Alexandria Barkmeier posted on 11/26/2012


Empowering Parents DFA2012 Fact Sheet Released Today

admin posted on 11/21/2012


What DQC Is Thankful for This Year

Guest posted on 11/20/2012


Using Data to Improve Teacher Effectiveness: A Principal’s Perspective

Alexandria Barkmeier posted on 11/20/2012


What Do the Recent Elections Mean for Education?

Alexandria Barkmeier posted on 11/19/2012


DFA2012 Teacher Effectiveness Fact Sheet Released Today

Guest posted on 11/15/2012


Data for Action 2012 Is Here!

Guest posted on 11/13/2012


Get Ready for Data for Action 2012!

Jessica Lyons posted on 11/9/2012


DATA FLASH: November 9, 2012

Brennan Parton posted on 11/7/2012


Engaging Stakeholders Is Key to Quality Policy Implementation

Guest posted on 11/5/2012


#DFA2012: Data for Action 2012 Results Released November 15!

Jessica Lyons posted on 11/2/2012


DATA FLASH: November 2, 2012

Brennan Parton posted on 10/26/2012


The Importance of the Data-Driven Principal

Jessica Lyons posted on 10/26/2012


DATA FLASH: October 26, 2012

Guest posted on 10/25/2012


Principals’ Decisions Are Best Made with Data

Amilcar Guzman posted on 10/24/2012


Educators Need Better Feedback to Improve College and Career Readiness

Jessica Lyons posted on 10/24/2012


Miami-Dade Wins 2012 Broad Prize: What Happens When Stakeholders Are Empowered by Education Data

Guest posted on 10/23/2012


Oh, the Data We’ll See and the Places We’ll Go!

Alexandria Barkmeier posted on 10/22/2012


DQC Celebrates National Principals Month

Jessica Lyons posted on 10/19/2012


DATA FLASH: October 19, 2012

Guest posted on 10/17/2012


How Will I Know If My Child Is Ready for College?

Elizabeth Laird posted on 10/16/2012


Putting the P in P–20W Data Systems

Alexandria Barkmeier posted on 10/16/2012


Election 2012: Where Data Fits into the Candidates’ Education Plans

Alexandria Barkmeier posted on 10/15/2012


Quality Data Key to Improving Education

Guest posted on 10/12/2012


Finding the Story behind Education Data

Jessica Lyons posted on 10/11/2012


DATA FLASH: October 11, 2012

Elizabeth Dabney posted on 10/10/2012


What Football Taught Me about Putting Data in Context

Evan Omerso posted on 10/9/2012


MYTH BUSTER: Do You Know What Education Data Really Are?

Lyndsay Pinkus posted on 10/5/2012


How Data Drive School Improvement

Amilcar Guzman posted on 10/3/2012


Common Graduation Rate Calculations in Danger—What We Should Do

Paige Kowalski posted on 10/2/2012


Some Ed Data Problems Can Only Be Solved by the State


Evan Omerso posted on 10/1/2012


The Flashlight Shines on Education Data

Aimee Guidera posted on 11/2/2011


Changing the Ed Data Culture Takes Real Leadership