Yet student data is only as effective as an educator's ability to interpret it. Most data reports fall short because they are counterintuitive or difficult to understand.
Fortunately, there is a solution, and it doesn't involve reinventing the wheel. By following the example set by other industries, such as over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, administrators can make huge strides in helping educators understand and use student data in ways that will make a real difference to student learning. In fact, simply including a one-pager explaining data and how to interpret it — similar to the inserts you'd find in an over-the-counter drug package — more than triples educators' accuracy in interpreting it.
Jenny Grant Rankin, Ph.D., is a former award-winning teacher, school administrator, school district administrator, and chief education and research officer of a student data systems company. She oversaw supporting educators' data use in all of her administrator/executive roles, and her Ph.D. in education features a specialization in school improvement leadership.