States have more capacity than ever to use secure education data, but they need to place a greater focus on using the right data to answer the right questions to improve student success.
- States take seriously their responsibility to ensure that data are used appropriately and student data are kept private and secure. States such as Oklahoma are passing legislation to establish new procedures and safeguards for the collection and use of student data.
- Most states cannot determine if their K–12 students have been adequately prepared for the workforce because only 19 have securely linked K–12 and workforce data. States are also still working to provide timely, role-based access to student data for parents, teachers, and other appropriate stakeholders.
- Teachers need data on the students in their classrooms to meet the individual needs of all their students. Teachers in 35 states have access to data about the students in their classrooms, an increase from 28 states in 2011.
For the first time ever, two states—Arkansas and Delaware—have achieved all 10 Actions in 2013. Every state has built robust statewide longitudinal data systems that collect quality data beyond test scores, and they are doing more and more to support effective data use.
- Arkansas and Delaware are the first states to achieve all 10 State Actions. While these states continue to make improvements to refine policies and practices to meet stakeholders’ needs, they have marshaled the leadership, policies, and resources to overcome the barriers of turf, trust, technical issues, and time that many states still face.
- More states than ever are funding their data systems, despite recent financial challenges, reflecting a belief that data are critical in the decisionmaking process at all levels.
- Fifteen states have eight or nine Actions, a jump from ten in 2012.
What You Can Do About It
States must transform from being compliance focused to meeting people’s needs through data:
- Teachers need data about how their students perform to tailor instruction to meet students’ individual needs.
- Parents need data to understand their child’s strengths and areas where he or she can improve and to choose the best educational environment for their child.
- School and district administrators need data to find out which educational programs are working to increase student achievement and which are not.
- State and federal policymakers need information about academic performance and workforce needs to make decisions about setting policy and allocating resources.