Delaware Has the Data Capacity – Now the Tough Work Begins
Delaware, like many states, has built the necessary data infrastructure to track students throughout their academic careers; however, tough work remains for all stakeholders, from policymakers to teachers, to successfully understand and act upon the information, according to Data Quality Campaign’s Data for Action 2011.
The report highlights Delaware’s progress over the past year, in which we:
- Linked our K-12 data system with early-learning, postsecondary education, and non-education agencies, such as workforce and social services, that are critical to overall student success;
- Promoted the availability and use of data among stakeholders; and
- Created progress reports that parents, students, and other stakeholders can use to track student progress and tailor supports moving forward.
While Delaware is ahead of 47 other states (we trail Texas, Arkansas, and Florida) on DQC’s 10 State Actions, work still remains to be done in the First State. We must:
- Implement systems that ensures all relevant stakeholders, particularly student and parents, have access to their longitudinal student data; and
- Ensure that data is utilized in the classroom by requiring data analysis as a part of pre-service training and then using the data to determine which educator preparation programs are successfully preparing candidates for the classroom.
While it’s important to recognize our progress, many thorny issues must be resolved before data usage is effective in education. First, the culture around data use must evolve, which is something that is underway through our Race to the Top data coaches. Second, we must continually recognize the value of data to inform critical decisions and not shy away from the necessary investments needed to do this – particularly as financial resources remain scarce. And third, we can’t look at data use as a means to punish; rather, we must understand its immense value to highlight areas of success and those need improvement.
We applaud all of the work over the past year to improve data availability and use for all Delawareans and look forward to working with all interested stakeholders to continue this work for the betterment of our students.