Delaware’s Data System STILL Leading the Pack…and Getting Better

December 7th, 2012

Category: News

Delaware continues to have one of the nation’s best educational data infrastructures and is a “cutting edge” state to learn from, according to the Data Quality Campaign’s (DQC) recently released 2012 Annual Report. Since last year’s report, Delaware continued to strengthen our data system and make it more timely and actionable for teachers, administrators, and families as one of the priorities in its winning Race to the Top plan, and it seems the investment is paying off.

By now, we’re used to being at the head of the pack; in 2007, we were one of only four states with all of DQC’s “essential elements” for effective data use and last year we were one of only four states that had completed at least 8 of the 10 “state actions to ensure effective data use.” This year we have accomplished a ninth, having ensured that all relevant stakeholders, particularly students and parents, have access to student data through resources such as the Education Insight Portal and student dashboards. According to DQC’s report, only one other state (Arkansas) has done as much as we have.

Other states have made improvements as well, but as a nation, there is still more work to be done. In a trend seen across the country, many states are continuing to make progress in supporting effective data use by collecting data and building a quality infrastructure but have yet to focus on what DQC calls the hardest work—helping people, especially parents, teachers, and students, use this data effectively.  

In Delaware, this is where we’ve focused our recent efforts. Our data coaches and school-wide professional learning communities (PLCs), big investments in our Race to the Top plan which have helped ensure that our teachers and principals not only have data but know how to use this data to inform their instruction. And in the past year several state teacher preparation programs have added data literacy to their training, something that is now a requirement for certification/licensure. But our work isn’t done either—our remaining task is to share educator effectiveness data with educator preparation programs, something only a small handful of states have done. 

As the state continues to increase its focus on developing our teachers and leaders, this is a natural next step that will give preparation programs the information they need to improve the training they give to their candidates. In fact, as part of our Race to the Top plan, this is something our leaders have already committed to doing. So perhaps next year, we’ll be able to say we were the first to reach a perfect ten!

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Brian Yin



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