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How to use data to increase student success rates

E-School News – Nate Davis

“Roughly 10 percent of freshmen class students nationwide find themselves struggling to earn enough credits to pass ninth grade, leaving them with only a 20-percent chance of graduating on time. This past year, the Metropolitan School District (MSD) of Decatur Township teamed up with the University of Chicago to combat this issue by implementing a Student Transition and Enrichment Pathway (STEP), a research-based program proven to produce growth in academic achievement and graduation rates among high school students. With its new STEP program in place, Decatur Township experienced significant success in just six months.” (more)

Why Student Data Should Be Students’ Data

Edutopia – Dennis Li

“Despite my love of data, two years into working as the data integration and reporting administrator at a public school district, I had grown disenchanted with how student data was being used. When I crisscrossed the district to talk to principals and administrators about their student data, I was often met with fear, confusion, and skepticism. On more than one occasion, I had to reassure and console a principal who thought they would lose their job because of one flat or downward sloping line chart.”(more)

Who is keeping student data safe in the era of digital learning?

The Hechinger Report – Tara García Mathewson

“When Baltimore County Public Schools started giving every student a computer for daily use in the classroom, teachers sought out more online learning materials to go with them. That meant more partnerships with third-party vendors, some of whom tracked student performance or required personal information about students to open new accounts. Parents in Baltimore County became concerned. Was their children’s private data going to be safe even outside the district’s hands? Baltimore County has become a leader in student data privacy and security, and is one of only 13 districts in the nation to earn a Trusted Learning Environment seal from CoSN, the membership group representing the nation’s K-12 school technology leaders.”(more)

Big Data Transforms Education Research

Education Next – Michael J. Petrilli

“For decades, education technophiles have envisioned a future wherein gee-whiz devices and engaging digital applications whisk students away from the doldrums of traditional classroom instruction and into a fun world of beeping computers, self-paced lessons, and cloud-based collaboration. That may yet come to pass—and at some outlier schools, is already here—but don’t be surprised if the true transformative power of education technology is most evident when it comes to something old-fashioned: basic education research. The declining cost and easy availability of substantial computing power may enable us finally to unlock the black box of the classroom, giving scholars and teachers much more insight into what is and isn’t working.”(more)

3 school security musts for summer kick off

E-School News – Lisa Myers

“I don’t really need to belabor the point that securing educational institutions is both incredibly challenging and crucially important; it’s a bit like describing the importance of water to a fish. Schools and universities are here for the primary purpose of education, but they often have groups devoted to healthcare, finance, retail, and research, among the other usual administrative departments like human resources and accounting. And with that breadth of service comes an alphabet soup of security compliance regulations that you need to be aware of; like HIPAA, CIPA, COPPA, FERPA and PPRA. And within higher education, there is also the expectation of an openness of information within and throughout the organization. How on earth can colleges and universities be expected both to fiercely guard and freely share information?.”(more)

Making Student Data More Usable: What Innovation Theory Tells Us About Interoperability

Education Next – Thomas Arnett

“As schools adopt blended learning, many are eager to use the floods of student learning data gathered by their various software systems to make better instructional decisions. We are accustomed to the ease with which we can use data from multiple systems in other domains of life—such as when we use GPS apps on our smartphones to search for dinner options, check operating hours and customer ratings, and then get traffic-optimized driving directions. So it isn’t hard to imagine an ideal world in which all student data flows seamlessly and securely between software applications: a concept known as data interoperability.”(more)