Policy | News
Many States Struggle To Link Student Test Data to Individual Teachers
Linking student test data to individual teachers is the biggest challenge of
establishing data systems to improve student achievement, according to a new
report from the United States Department of
The report, "State
Implementation of Reforms Promoted Under the Recovery Act," evaluated
state-level adoption of educational reforms implemented under the
Recovery Act in the
years 2009-2010 and 2010-2011. The Recovery Act required state education agencies
(SEAs) to commit to four key areas of reform in order to qualify for funding
under the Act. One of those key areas was the establishment of data systems and
use of that data to improve student performance. The other areas were adoption
of Common Core State Standards,
improved teacher effectiveness and support for low-performing schools.
The Recovery Act outlined four key indicators of state-level reform of data
- State operation of a longitudinal data system that included 12 core
- State operation of a data system that had the ability to link teachers
to student data;
- SEA facilitation of educators' access to assessment data; and
- Professional development or technical assistance provided by SEAs to
support educators' use of assessment data.
Approximately two-thirds of SEAs reported one or more major challenges
associated with state-level data system reforms. Of the four data system reform
indicators, the second one was the most commonly reported challenge. Forty
percent of SEAs reported that "current data systems make linking student test
data to individual teachers difficult," and 39 percent reported "restrictions in
rules and regulations on linking of student data to individual teachers."
despite these challenges, 59 percent of SEAs were able to link teachers to
student data by the end of the 2011 school year.
Implementing all 12 of the core components specified for data systems also
seems to have been a challenge. In the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 school years, only 13
state education agencies managed to implement all 12. However, nearly all SEAs
(48 out of 51) were able to implement three of the core data system components:
yearly test records, information on students not tested and assessment of data
quality, validity and reliability. But less than half of SEAs were able to
implement data systems that contained information on students' transition from
high school to postsecondary or information to determine student preparedness
for postsecondary education. More than half of SEAs were able to implement the
other core components.
The other two key indicators were widely implemented. Eighty-four percent of
SEAs were able to facilitate educators' access to assessment data, and 78 percent
provided professional development or technical assistance to support educators'
use of assessment data.
The full report, "State Implementation of Reforms Promoted Under the Recovery
Act," is available as a downloadable PDF from the
Institute of Education Sciences
Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.