Friday, April 12, 2019

Information School Trustees, Teachers, & Parents must know how to find about schools

Education must be data driven!

Many schools and administrators claim to be data driven but never share the source of the data or full access to that data.  They rarely follow data over the years from decade to decade.  Small snapshots of cherry-picked data, used to justify the most recent innovations, seem to be the extent of being "data driven" inside our public schools.

For education to be data-driven the public must know where to find the information year to year so that as much as is possible they can do the driving in "data-driven."  They should be led by well informed trustees.  Sadly, too few trustees seem to know the sources of the data needed, or care about exposing the data so that parents and teachers can better understand and support any allegedly "data-driven" changes.  Here is a summary of some of those sources:

The Dallas ISD Data Portal, should be, and almost is, the most valuable source for information for everyone.  See  It is a very large site that after over a decade of work on it I can only claim to know more than most civilians, but not everything.  The main menu has these choices and this is it with the most used choice selected: "Statistics and Reports."

I have invested probably thousands of hours over the past 15 years working with these 4 alternatives, spending most of my time in the first three choices.  They are powerful!

Enrollment is only current data.  Data Packets has all data going back nine years.  It is powerful, but all in a pdf file and very difficult to use in showing patterns year to year.  It takes work!

SEI (School Effectiveness Indices) data is very powerful and useful in tracking progress in schools.  I have used it extensively to follow schools with School Time Capsule Projects.  This measure must not be allowed to stop.  It is very useful.  It is over 20 years old and unique to DISD as far as I know.

The STARR choice shows the history of such tests by school going back to 2012.

During the past year I have been shown a much more powerful data set that is not in the Statistics and Reports tab but you can find it under the "Resources" tab to the right:

The "School Information File" is the most powerful tool in the Dallas ISD Data Portal.  It creates a spreadsheet in seconds with one line for every school and academy in DISD and currently provides 40 variables per school, some of the most critical.  It needs to be expanded, but still remains powerful.

 (This posting is under construction and will be expanded.)

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