- Many schools continue to struggle with effectively using the data they've gathered, as highlighted in a report issued last year by the Data Quality Center.
- The Hechinger Report cites Atlanta Public Schools' data visualization blog, which breaks down numbers in plain language to make them accessible to the public, as a solution other districts can learn from.
- In the blog, APS officials also visualize the data in a concise and sometimes interactive format way that makes complex ideas easier to digest for the general public while also explaining things like education jargon, and the district has seen parents use it to better inform discussions among themselves.
It's a common refrain in education: "You have the data. Now what do you do with it?" This is best evidenced by the fact that some variation of that phrase has also become a popular session title at many conferences in recent years. But all jokes aside, making the best use of data all comes down to strategy. What do you want to find out, and which metrics are going to tell you that? And how are you going to present it in a way that all stakeholders can understand its value?
Like Atlanta, California has also made an effort to make its data more palatable. Its new Model Five-by-Five Placement Reports & Data is designed to present performance for each of a district's across performance indicators on color grids, providing a link to individual dashboard reports. Ideally, this allows low-performing schools to stand out, particularly in otherwise high-performing districts, ensuring they get the attention they need, when they need it — as opposed to potentially being overlooked when only district averages are examined.