Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Data-Sharing is Key to College and Career Readiness

Every day, we hear “data this,” and “data that,” being told “the data” will show us how to get students college and career ready. Although data is powerful, its power lies in what we do with it. Kentucky educators are discovering how data really makes a difference in the education of their students. It’s no secret that collaboration is a vessel for change, but it wasn’t until university professors and high school teachers began comparing notes about their expectations in class that real changes began to occur.

According to an article in Education Week, transition courses were developed in high schools to help lagging students avoid remediation in college. Advanced Placement restrictions were lifted to expose more students to college-level courses. As communication lines opened, other changes followed. The percentage of college-going students in Kentucky went up, and the need for remediation in college went down.

Kentucky is at the forefront of collecting and sharing P-20 data, information that spans preschool through graduate study. Since the 1990s, it had been tracking the performance of students over time. But not everyone knew it.

Sam Evans, the dean of the college of education at Western Kentucky University, in Bowling Green, was part of the group that sketched out how the new P-20 collaboration would work. "Everybody had their data sets, and they weren't speaking to one another," he said. The focus of the discussion, he said, was practical: "What do we need to know?"

The driver for everyone to work together was economic development. There was agreement that the only way it could be achieved was with more college degrees and well-prepared high school graduates, said Mr. Evans.

How can we improve the use of data in our schools?

To learn more and to read the full article, click here.

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