- A data visualization tool is helping educators in the Clark County (NV) School District better monitor which students are on track to graduate and increase support for those who are not, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
- Developed by a former district staff member, the tool shows all the credits that each student has earned toward graduation. When school leaders see trends in the data, such as students missing a health credit or not taking required math courses, they can adjust class placements and direct professional development, tutoring or other efforts toward areas where students need the most help.
- In one school, Cimarron-Memorial High School, the tool has contributed to an increase in the graduation rate from 62% in 2013 to 95% this year, the article says.
The district’s experience raises an important point about student data. If it’s not presented in an accessible and useful way, educators — and especially parents and students — are unlikely to learn from it or use it to make improvements. Part of being an instructional leader is strengthening staff members’ skills in understanding data and identifying students’ needs before they fall too far behind.
The now national attention to chronic absenteeism is one example of how data that existed anyway, student absences, has been analyzed and captured in a way that identifies students who are not only missing big chunks of school but could be at risk for other problems in school as well.
According to an ACT issue brief, district leaders can work with school administrators to make sure the data being collected answer teachers’ questions. They can create periodic data reports that bring together key indicators, set expectations that data will be part of teacher collaboration time and emphasize data-related skills when making hiring decisions, especially for instructional coaches or other administrators who will be working with teachers.