Effective educational data reporting allows schools to work smarter, not harder, to improve student achievement.
Imagine a school administers an interim assessment to its sixth-grade students. Teachers receive the tests, pass them out, and after a set period of time, collect them from students. During a professional development session, each teacher swaps tests with one of their grade-level colleagues to review student responses. Each student receives a grade, and a copy of the test goes home in students’ weekly folders. Now what?
Effective educational data reporting provides the answer. By analyzing students’ performance within the broader context of the specific standards and items assessed on the test, the individual student’s long-term performance, and the performance of the school or grade level as a whole, leaders can target their interventions based on where they’re needed most.
Perhaps a particular classroom or grade level consistently performs at a lower level than the rest of the school and needs additional support. By contrast, one class within the grade level may vastly outperform others. What is it that makes that classroom so high achieving? Only by leveraging educational data can leaders determine the answers to these questions, which can yield significant, positive impacts on student achievement.
Longitudinal educational data trends help school leaders track performance over time.
At 10,000 feet, longitudinal datasets provide schools with a starting point for data analysis. How has the school performed on not only state standardized tests, but also regularly administered interim assessments over time? How does this performance vary, year-over-year, by grade level, student cohort, student demographic group, or teacher?
Gathering all of this data in one place allows school leaders to see whose performance is improving or declining over time. Even a lack of a clear trend can provide insights. For example, has there been significant teacher turnover in a particular grade? For the years that the grade level performed relatively well, was it because of a particular teacher or, instead, a particularly high-achieving cohort of students?
It’s not enough to know which questions students got wrong. It’s the “why” that matters most.
Longitudinal data alone doesn’t capture the full “why” behind student performance. To determine the “why,” school leaders must look at student performance across standards and individual questions to see which concepts students clearly mastered and which will require remedial efforts.
For example, it’s not enough to know that 67% of a particular grade level scored “proficient” or “advanced” on a particular assessment. Leaders need to know which questions were consistently missed across the grade level and, then, which standards are tied to those questions. On a math assessment, it may turn out that students clearly understood multiplying, but not dividing, fractions. As a result, leaders will need to meet with individual teachers who may need to re-teach this content to the whole class, or, alternatively, conduct small groups with students who the data indicates need the most support.
At CTS, we help schools use educational data to improve student achievement and support their unique missions.
Our team at CTS has partnered with more than 60 schools across the United States to use educational data and technology to improve student achievement. For New York-based schools, our data visualization services help leaders evaluate NYSTP proficiency over time, as well as use their school’s data to predict how students will perform on the upcoming year’s assessment.
These services also extend to non-instructional areas, such as student behavior, that allow schools to uncover the links between students’ academic performance and social-emotional development.
Leverage predictive analytics to forecast student performance using existing educational data.
Predictive analytics can be especially powerful for school leaders seeking to forecast performance on high-stakes annual tests, as well as for beginning- and end-of-year analyses that help leaders prepare for the next school year.
An end-of-year analysis, for example, allows school leaders to pinpoint which grades may need additional support for the upcoming year. Even with strong teachers at a particular grade level, leaders may determine that a co-teaching model or more targeted daily supports are required to support an incoming cohort. By planning ahead for such a scenario, school leaders can reduce stress on teachers, while also ensuring that students don’t fall behind quickly once the school year begins, mitigating any performance deficits before they can accrue.
Effective attendance data reporting can help schools target their interventions early, saving valuable instructional time, and improving student achievement.
Non-instructional educational data can also yield powerful insights for school leaders. Attendance is a classic example. If a student isn’t in school or in class, they’re not learning. By conducting robust, daily analyses of attendance and translating those findings into longitudinal reports, leaders can pinpoint individual student attendance trends and conduct rapid interventions to ensure kids arrive on time to school each and every day.
Once an intervention begins, an effective attendance reporting system can determine the efficacy of the intervention, showing, for example, whether a particular student begins arriving at school on time at a greater frequency than before the intervention began.
Coupled with strictly academic data, attendance reporting is an especially powerful family communication tool. When meeting with a student’s family member to discuss the student’s academic performance, a teacher can quickly point to the relationship between the student’s absenteeism and their subsequent low performance on a particular test. These tough conversations can provide the basis for a longer-term partnership between the family and the child.
Effective behavior reporting can help schools determine when and why incidents occur, as well as prepare schools for end-of-year compliance requirements.
The same maxim governing attendance data also holds for student behavioral data. When a student is sent out of class or otherwise deprived of learning because of their behavior, their academic performance can suffer. By mapping this information onto students’ academic data, leaders, teachers, and families can get a better sense of what’s driving a particular student’s performance. It could be that during certain months or weeks, when the student’s behavior is good, they perform near the top of the class on various assessments. These insights are only available through effective use of educational data and can have a dramatic impact on long-term student achievement.
Systematically collecting student behavior data throughout the year can also greatly ease the compliance burden of end-of-year reporting deliverables, which often require detailed breakdowns of student suspensions. By collecting this data throughout the year in a consistent way, schools can avoid scrambling at the end of the year to comply with charter authorizer or state and local education department compliance requirements.