We Are Halfway There! – Data for Action 2014

The Data Quality Campaign (DQC) has just released its latest survey of state educational systems’ progress toward effective data use. Data for Action 2014 provides an excellent overview of the importance of educational data to students, parents, and educators. Raising the bar every year, the study reports state-level attention to data as captured in its 10 State Actions survey.

Arizona is making steady progress and with 5 actions completed, comes in slightly ahead of the national average. (Arizona’s Data for Action 2014 analysis is available here.) In fact, Arizona has also completed five more sub-actions in 2014 than in 2013. The detailed breakdown of Arizona’s progress appears in the table below.

Arizona Progress — 10 State Actions
Action 1 Link state K–12 data systems with early learning, postsecondary, workforce, and other critical state agency data systems
K–12 and early childhood data are annually matched and shared with a known match rate.
K–12 and postsecondary data are annually matched and shared with a known match rate.
K–12 and workforce data are annually matched and shared with a known match rate.
Action 2 Create stable, sustainable support for longitudinal data systems.
The P–20/workforce state longitudinal data system (SLDS) is mandated, or data system use is required in state policy.
The P–20/workforce SLDS receives state funding.
Action 3 Develop governance structures to guide data collection and use
A state education agency data governance committee is established.
A cross-agency data governance committee/council is established with authority.
Action 4 Build state data repositories.
K–12 data repository is built and implemented.
Action 5 Provide timely, role-based access to data.
Multiple levels or types of role-based access are established.
Parents, teachers, and appropriate stakeholders have access to student-level longitudinal data.
Superintendents, state policymakers, or state education agency staff and other stakeholders have access to aggregate-level longitudinal data.
State policy ensures that teachers and parents have access to their students’ longitudinal data.
The state is transparent about who is authorized to access specific data and for what purposes.
Action 6 Create progress reports with student-level data for educators, students, and parents.
The state produces reports using student-level longitudinal data.
Teachers and appropriate stakeholders have tailored reports using student-level longitudinal data.
Action 7 Create reports with longitudinal statistics to guide system-level change.
The state produces reports using aggregate-level longitudinal data.
State-produced reports using aggregate-level longitudinal data are available on a state-owned public website
Action 8 Develop a purposeful research agenda.
The state has developed a purposeful research agenda with other organizations.
The state has a process by which outside researchers can propose their own studies.
Action 9 Implement policies and promote practices to build educators’ capacity to use data.
Teachers and principals are trained to use longitudinal data to tailor instruction and inform schoolwide policies and practices.
Teachers and principals are trained to use and interpret specific reports.
The state plays an active role in training educators to use and interpret specific reports.
Preservice: Data literacy is a requirement for certification/licensure, or data literacy training is a requirement for state program approval.
Teacher performance data are automatically shared with in-state educator preparation programs at least annually.
Action 10 Promote strategies to raise awareness of available data.
The state communicates the availability of data to noneducator stakeholders.
The state trains noneducator stakeholders on how to use and interpret data
The state education agency makes data privacy and security policies public

Florence Opts-In to Statewide Student Information System


Florence Unified School District in Pinal County is the latest school district to opt-in to the Statewide Student Information System (SSIS).

The Arizona Department of Education created this educational resource to make a robust student information system available to districts and charters throughout the state for an affordable price.

“ADE has worked extremely hard over the past few years to create an opportunity for districts and charters of all shapes and sizes to be able to access software that manages critical student data to support the classroom,” said John Huppenthal, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction. “It has been our mission to provide great technology tools to districts and charters at an affordable price, leading to better decisions with the limited dollars Arizona has to invest in technology.

“By offering a solution with great functionality at a reduced price, schools can redirect their resources to impact student achievement in the classroom. Some school districts, especially small ones, can see student management software costs reduced nearly 90 percent, while the initiative as a whole could save up to $90 million statewide every year.”

In order to design a system where educators would see maximum benefit, ADE formed an expert focus group of users from schools throughout the state. The insightful recommendations gathered from these end users led to a partnership with Edupoint Educational Systems, Inc.

With two high schools, seven K-8 schools, 600 teachers and 8,500 students, Florence is now the fifth school district to opt-in with the state. Renowned for its technological innovation throughout the state, Florence is textbook free with one-to-one computing at both high school campuses, interactive whiteboards in every classroom, tablet access for all students between third grade and eighth grade and eight computers in every core classroom at the K-8 level.

Opting-in to the state’s student information system is just the latest step forward for the Florence district. Florence officials said it decided to move over to SSIS because it offers a better user experience for parents, teachers and kids, seamless integration, essential live data and because it exists in a cloud environment.

“The Florence Unified School District prides itself in being ahead of the curve when it comes to technology and access,” said Dr. Amy Fuller, Superintendent of Florence Unified School District. “Moving to Edupoint’s Synergy allows us to communicate with parents like never before.

“It also gives our teachers and students the opportunity to collaborate about grades, assignments, and absences in a way that other districts and charter schools cannot. We look forward to offering this service, among many others, to the families we serve.”

As Florence transitions over to SSIS, ADE will provide technological support for the district every step of the way. SSIS is just one of several initiatives included in AELAS, ADE’s legislative mandate to provide all levels of the educational community with the tools and data necessary to support education transformation, academic growth and accountability, while dramatically reducing costs.

For more information regarding SSIS, please visit http://www.azed.gov/aelas/ssis/. For more information regarding all of AELAS’ initiatives, please log on to AELAS’ website http://www.azed.gov/aelas/.