Putting Data into Practice: Lessons from New York City
In this recent Education Sector report, Bill Tucker discusses the use and effectiveness of data systems, drawing explicit lessons from strategies now employed in New York City. Tucker explains that education data have traditionally flowed upward—from school to district to state to Washington—and been used mainly as a cog in the compliance machine. They rarely influence classroom-level decision-making. Data systems, Tucker says, have become “de facto data morgues.” Enter New York City, which has, since 2008, utilized the Achievement Reporting and Innovation System (ARIS) to provide teachers and parents with real-time assessment results, attendance records, and course grades. This program enables educators to identify students’ strengths and learning gaps, craft needed interventions, and customize progress reports. It also allows cross-curricular collaboration. But it hasn’t penetrated very deep as yet. Through anecdotal evidence, Tucker indicates that ARIS data analysis is not effecting fundamental change in teacher practice or decision-making. To that end, he offers a number of useful recommendations for obtaining, analyzing, and deploying data, beginning with the central insight that data collected must match the goals for collecting it.
Bill Tucker, “Putting Data into Practice: Lessons from New York City” (Washington, D.C.: Education Sector, October 2010).
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