Why Data?

Since starting this position, I have had the privilege of being a member on the SLDS State Support Team Data Use Standards Working Group.  It is a team focused around creating standards for the knowledge, skills, and professional behaviors needed for effective data utilization.  This past July, we came out with Version II of the standards and also a companion deliverable, Standards in Practice.  I’m proud to say North Dakota is featured as a case study using the A+ Inquiry framework tied to the Data Use Standards.

Being a part of national working groups around data utilization is valuable in many facets – networking, sharing resources, creating visions, and also celebrating successes.  A team member from New Hampshire sent an email to us all this week sharing a video they have created to illuminate their answers to “Why Data?”  I recommend viewing during this busy, hustle holiday week as it will remind you the number one goal for all data use is always the positive impact on students.  Always.


Assessment Literacy

If you have been following me for any period of time, you know I am passionate about the need for developing a data mindset FIRST to then have the capacity to use educational data in an effective manner.  In other words, I believe there is a need for increased assessment literacy.

I’m excited to announce I was invited to join the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) National Task Force on Assessment Education and Literacy for Teachers.  The Task Force invited thought leaders from around the country to join together to work on the development of best practices and programs for assessment education – both in colleges of education, national education organizations, and in K12 school districts.  Half of the Task Force members represent pre-service expertise and the other half represent in-service experience.  NWEA convened this Task Force because they believe that the key to improving assessment use and understanding is to provide clear support and best practices in both teacher education programs as well as through In-Service professional learning in K12 school districts.  Since teachers are the lead communicator to both students and parents about assessment, it is critically important to provide them with the right preparation and support to understand and use assessments in support of learning.

As part of the work, NWEA has created an invaluable resource – check it out!  Their approach aligns directly with my philosophy of using the A+ Inquiry framework to guide the development of a data mindset.


AdvancED Connection

There are two new reports available to district and school admin. authenticated users of the ND SLDS.  One can be found under the blue “district” bar in the list of PK-12 reports and it’s titled DISTRICT ADVANCED.  The other can be found under the blue “school” bar in the list of PK-12 reports and its titled SCHOOL ADVANCED.

The SLDS team has been diligently working to update its current reports to align with the needs of educational data in the state.  One of the key areas emphasized this year has been the data required for AdvancED.  Last fall, it became apparent the data was available in the SLDS, but it was not analyzable directly from the reports – an external spreadsheet had to be utilized for school districts to answer the questions from AdvancED’s Student Performance Data Document.  Because of this need, updates were made throughout the year to the District Proficiency Trend report and in the spring, entirely new reports were created titled District AdvancED and School AdvancED.

These new reports provide districts the option to use the data available directly from the SLDS, without needing to do any external analyzing.  This advancement in the SLDS has been the combined effort of ITD staff, the Data Steward, REA Data Specialists, and the ND AdvancED Director.  Please note if you export this report, it must be to a PDF.

From the SLDS training completed by the Data Steward this fall, it has become evident districts are finding this report valuable for other data conversations as well such as curriculum/program improvement needs and grant writing.


One Way to Use Data from the SLDS

A snippet from a SLDS 201 workshop…