8 Great Data-Sharing Districts#Leadership
by Erin WerraRead time:
School data refers to the facts that represent district operations and achievements. This information can include demographics, daily logistics including meal counts and attendance, and of course, grades and test scores.
School data quantifies the important work of teaching and learning and lets district leaders, teachers, students, parents, and the community know how schools are performing.
Sharing data while preserving student privacy is part of building a healthy school culture and a key component of the Future Ready framework. Most districts have plans. Many have information request forms available. But how are districts being proactive about data visibility? Here’s how a handful of districts started the conversation.
1) Riverton USD, KansasAlthough most people are familiar with standardized tests, it’s still a good idea to explain how students are evaluated. Some members of the community are probably just learning to analyze data.
Riverton USD devoted a page of their district site to explaining what each test measures and what the scores are used for, then provided links to the reports. Their proactive approach set the stage for parents and community members curious to learn more about how students are doing.
2) Holly Area Schools, MichiganAggregated data provides information while maintaining confidentiality. No one is singled out, and no one can identify students from context cues.
Holly Area Schools put aggregated data to great use on their school website. Key figures were featured prominently on the home page. A link to the Michigan School Data dashboard in the website header provided a deeper dive into performance data.
3) Mineral Point USD, WisconsinData doesn’t have to be boring, nor should you need a PhD to make sense of it. For a unique way to share information, consider creating an infographic.
Mineral Point USD produced a fun infographic sharing how students performed on ACT exams. The aggregated data used in the infographic doesn’t interfere with student privacy but gave a thorough report of how the district compared to statewide performance for composite, science, reading, mathematics, and English tests.
4) Forney Independent School District, TexasWhat if you’re not an Excel wiz or you think a pie chart should be ranked by tastiness? You may want to explore a data visualization service. Effective visualization aims to make data analysis easier.
Forney Independent School District uses OnView. This service reported publicly shared data only, so there was no chance of breaching confidentiality. Users could browse different reporting options and see a visual interpretation of demographics, results of different tests, and standards mastery information.
5) Troy CCSD 30C, IllinoisIf your state distributes data on an interactive state reporting dashboard the way the Illinois State Board of Education does, promoting that service is a win-win: Your community enjoys easy access to public information without requiring more than a web link on your site.
Troy CCSD 30C provided multiple links to the Illinois Interactive Report Card—one for each of their schools and a district-wide report. Even if they aren’t yet familiar with the Report Card, parents and community members could access the information on the district’s site.
6) Judge Memorial Catholic High School, UtahA fair number of districts provide demographic and other community information on their websites. Some share short community histories or even real estate links, depending on their locations and goals.
Judge Memorial tells their story at-a-glance with an infographic, then goes into deeper detail. They listed information about demographics, academics, ministry, arts, and athletic activity, to name a few.
7) Colonial School District, PennsylvaniaOne of the feel-good benefits of gathering good data is the opportunity to recognize and celebrate achievement. When students grow, their community should be able to celebrate right along with them.
Colonial School District devoted a page of its district website to Points of Pride, which include everything from brag-worthy graduation statistics to STEAM awards to property tax rates. Talk about a sound investment!
8) Spectrum High School, MinnesotaDoes your district have a different approach to teaching and learning? Perhaps you lead a charter school or have implemented an alternative grading system. The way you share your data can shine a spotlight on the similarities and differences by comparing to state or national averages.
Spectrum High School played up the positives of small-school education, particularly the jumpstart its students got on college credits.
Data Visibility is Worth the Investment
Sharing data is important to a school culture of transparency and good communication. As you create a plan for data visibility, consider the crucial component of helping people in your community develop data literacy. Getting everyone on the same page helps them focus on your vision for your future-ready school!
Ready to share data, but not sure where to start? Check out EdTech Playbook: The District Website.
|Erin Werra District Data Detective