States across the nation are working to improve the accessibility of their data reporting systems to ensure stakeholders better understand how schools are serving their students. Now that this data is more easily available, policymakers must consider the comfort level of key stakeholders, namely parents and teachers, in using this increasingly available data to make decisions to improve student outcomes.
This week, we were joined by Brennan McMahon Parton, Director of Policy and Advocacy for the Data Quality Campaign, to discuss the findings from their annual teacher and parent poll. This nationally representative poll utilized surveys and focus groups to collect responses from 1,013 parents and 750 teachers to better understand their confidence in, and comfort with, using data to improve academic and social-emotional outcomes for students.
Key Takeaways | Next Generation of Data
Parents overwhelmingly report that they need data to understand their child’s progress and what helps them do their best in school.
Parents also want access to information regarding how their child’s school educates students with similar demographic characteristics.
In addition to schools, 71 percent of parents believe that other public agencies should have access to their children’s data to improve services and the allocation of resources, but only if the information is shared securely.
Teachers reported that data is a vital element of their practice, but do not have enough training to maximize its use. For many teachers, data skills are acquired on their own, with only 17 percent reporting that they learned how to use data in their preservice training.
Time is the most significant barrier to effective data use reported by teachers. Over 80 percent of teachers reported that they needed to use personal time outside of school to incorporate data into their daily practice.
When teachers do find time to analyze student data, more than half of participating teachers spend more time accessing and prepping student data rather than applying it to their practice.
Policy Recommendations from DQC
To improve teacher data use, educator preparation programs should incorporate data literacy skills into their course of study.
Improve the accessibility of meaningful student data for teachers.
Georgia is a leader in this area, with their statewide longitudinal data system dashboard. This dashboard allows teachers to easily access data and provides tools to facilitate using data to enhance their daily practices. In addition, this system has a parent portal with trainings and resources available to parents to help them access and understand their student’s data.
By working with districts to increase the time allotted for data analysis and application, teachers can feel as though data use is another part of their workday, not an additional burden on their time.
For our full conversation with Brennan, please watch the webinar below. If you are interested in more information, the Data Quality Campaign will be releasing a five-year report analyzing broader trends in teacher and parent attitudes toward education data in 2020.
Register now for our next Intersection Webinar on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 at 1 p.m. ET when we welcome Adam Tyner, Associate Director of Research at the Fordham Institute. Adam will review their recent report, “End-of-Course Exams and Student Outcomes,” co-authored by Matthew Larsen, an Assistant Professor of Economics at Lafayette College. The report provides a rich longitudinal look at state policies related to EOCs over the past 20 years and the effects of administering EOCs in different subjects on high school graduation rates and college entrance exam scores.