Using Data Systems To Meet AYP

PennsylvaniaData systems are a function of technology.Before computers, databases,and spreadsheets werearound, districts had to deliver boxes andboxes filled with annual reports to theirrespective states. Neither the states nor thedistricts were able to learn much fromthese reams of paper, much less makeinformed decisions based on the informationin the reports.

We have seen student informationsystems,curriculum management systems,and learning management systems evolvein a piecemeal fashion, but they still did notfulfill the promise of using data to changeeducation from the classroom to the state.The confluence of policy—adequate yearlyprogress (AYP) requirements under theNo Child Left Behind Act (NCLB)—andpowerful and sophisticated applications oftechnology, including data warehouses,have combined to make a difference in howstates and districts manage education andstudent learning.

Today’s states, districts, and schools arecollecting an ever-increasing amount ofdata as they develop more complex datasystems. Although more data is now availablefor all education stakeholders, theissues of ensuring data quality, andutilizing the data to make decisions aboutteaching and learning, are critical tomaking the data useful. Properly utilizingthe data includes having reports availablethat meet the needs of administrators andteachers in a timely manner, as well aseducating stakeholders on how to use thedata successfully. And as more databecome available, the challenge is learninghow to use the data effectively.

This article originally appeared in the 07/01/2005 issue of THE Journal.