Using Data in Education

Last week, the Data Quality Campaign (DQC) released Data for Action 2010, an annual nationwide analysis of states’ ability to collect and use data to improve student achievement. For the 5th year in a row, Florida achieved a perfect score for having the right data policies in place around student and teacher-related data collection and management. The report also noted that we improved our score in how we use the data to increase student achievement, making us one of only six states to be ranked this high. At this point you are probably asking yourself why I happen to be so excited about something like this. For me, the reason is quite simple. By using data, we can better formulate education policies, assist struggling schools, and most importantly, provide educators and administrators with information that can be used to help their students succeed. We’ve spent a long time as a state building up our data systems and working to get as much information as we can out to the public, and I think the impacts of those efforts have really begun to shine lately. In fact, I often hear complaints that maybe we have TOO much data out on the web, inundating people with more than they can handle.

But for me, you can never have too much data as long as you manage and deliver it in streamlined, user-friendly ways. And that’s a big part of what we are going to be doing through Florida’s federal Race to the Top grant and Data Systems grants – taking everything we do now and making it so user-focused and public-friendly that folks will be able to delve right in and become informed about their schools like never before. From this effort I envision a new crop of education advocates, armed with reams of data, all working collectively to make our education system one of the best in the nation and the world.

Now that’s something to get excited about!

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