Giving Compass’ Take:
• Melissa Gedney shares ways for public school districts to change their data collection and storage methods to improve data interoperability so that stakeholders can better understand how the school is doing.
• How can donors support school districts that are looking to overcome their data challenges?
• Find out why data is only the first step to equity in education.
Managing student data in an impactful way is a challenge for school districts in the world we live in—a world that does not have unified standards for education. Vendors export data in multiple ways—like files with similar, but fundamentally different, student identification fields; PDFs; app and tool-specific reports; etc. Thus school districts across the country have had to reinvent nearly identical solutions over and over again to move toward focusing what’s historically been a blurry picture of student learning. Data interoperability can help make that picture clearer.
There’s an ever-increasing number of data sources—from attendance trackers to student performance data—which teachers and districts are tasked with managing and sharing in compliance with federal and district requirements. Many well-resourced school districts have deployed rockstar CTOs and technology directors to develop custom integrations. Such work is often effective, but can be labor-intensive and is not universally available. Adopting standards from organizations like Ed-Fi and IMS Globalcan make this easier.
Every individual district, school, and classroom has the responsibility of creating secure data environments that can process and organize a great deal of data ingested and exchanged from a huge number of sources. Resources like the Project Unicorn Rubric can help districts think through smaller, incremental ways to solve for security and privacy—moving from linguistic student identifiers to unique numeric student identifiers, for example.
Adding a class of students into a new program may seem like a simple task, but it becomes a massive headache when each vendor expects that data in a different format. Some districts have implemented single sign-on, writing codes to integrate programs within their individual districts.
Read the full article about data interoperability in public education by Melissa Gedney at EdSurge.
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