Humans Need to Roll with Education Info, Report Says

States are doing a good job building systems to collect education information, but need to work on the people part of the equation.

by / November 15, 2012 0

States are doing a much better job this year in three areas of education data. But they need some help on the human side of the equation, according to the Data for Action 2013 report from the Data Quality Campaign released on Thursday, Nov. 15.

This eighth-annual report measures how well states do in 10 action areas that deal with collecting and sharing both student and educator outcomes. Ten states have eight or nine of the actions, up from four in 2011. These states include Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida and Texas. And 12 states added two more actions to their respective lists.

The states have made significant progress in four action areas: 

  • providing policy and funding support for data systems;
  • developing data governance structures;
  • creating reports on individual student data; and
  • creating reports on school systems and groups of students.

Progress has been made in these four areas because legislators now understand the importance of analyzing and sharing education information instead of just collecting it, said Aimee Rogstad Guidera, executive director of the Data Quality Campaign. And state agencies are also changing their role from just being focused on compliance to focusing on customer suppor as well.

But in three areas, states aren't doing so well. Only 14 states link data across state agencies. Only five provide parents and educators access to student information over time. And just six make sure educators know how to use the information they can access.

These three pieces all have to do with how people value information, interact with others and adjust their behavior. That's much harder to deal with than the technical challenges of building IT systems.

"The hardest part is getting people to change how they've always done business," Guidera said, "because it requires them to acknowledge that we now have information and we need to change our processes to acknowledge that."

Tanya Roscorla Former Managing Editor

Tanya Roscorla covered ed tech from 2009-2017.